The companies planning a pipeline across 17 Iowa counties to carry crude oil last week told Iowa utility authorities that they plan to delay county information meetings in Iowa until December to avoid the harvest season. The meetings were originally planned for late September and early Oct­ober.

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP (ETP) and Dakota Access LLC also released information on the construction of the proposed pipeline and how the company plans to restore fields and drain tile lines.

"We are acutely aware of the impact that the pipeline can have on fields and tile and want to do our utmost to address farmers’ concerns," said Vicki Granado, a spokeswoman for ETP.

The proposed pipeline would carry crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oilfields to a terminal at Patoka, Ill., east of St Louis. Under the plan, the pipeline would cross about 17 Iowa counties running diagonally from Lyon County in northwest Iowa to Lee County in the state’s southeast corner.

The company hopes to have the pipeline operational by 2016.

Letters to landowners

Earlier this summer, the ETP and Dakota Access sent letters to Iowa landowners along the proposed route asking for permission to survey the property.

The companies are expected to be on farmers’ property as least twice, but it can be as many as five times for various surveys prior to the start of construction, said Christina Gruenhagen, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation government relations counsel. The company has said it hopes to do most of the environmental and archeological work after crops are harvested.

Signing a survey agreement is voluntary. Landowners can tailor the agreement to include provisions, such as a requirement that the pipeline company provides notice of when the surveys will be conducted, does not cut down crops and compensates owners for damages.

After the companies hold county informational meetings, they will be allowed to enter property to survey for the pipeline without it being considered trespassing. They are required to provide 10 days notice and to pay for damages.

Construction specifics

ETP released the following information on how the proposed pipeline would be constructed:

• Where possible, the transmission line will parallel existing pipelines, power lines or existing roads. During construction, an additional 50 to 100 feet of workspace is needed adjacent to the permanent 50-foot right-of-way.

• The pipeline is covered by a minimum of 36 inches of soil and more if it crosses under roads, rivers, lakes or streams.

• In agricultural fields, the pipe will be buried a minimum of 48 inches.

• All drain tiles will be crossed with a minimum of 24-inch separation between the pipe and the drain tile.

• In consolidated rock, the pipeline will be buried a minimum of 24 inches and elsewhere a minimum of 36 inches.

• Topsoil will be segregated during construction to a minimum of 12 inches or in accordance with landowner requirements.

The companies also said a specific agriculture land restoration plan is being developed and will be submitted as part of their permit application to the Iowa Utilities Board. It will be presented to each landowner for use or comment.

Landowners can negotiate ad­­ditional protections to address specific concerns on their property. Each agriculture field will be crossed in accordance with a specific crossing plan with each landowner in accordance with the overall plan.

For more information, Farm Bureau members can go to the Iowa Farm Bureau pipeline information website at