Arson may to be blame for fires that damaged millions of dollars worth of construction equipment along the Iowa section of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Jasper County Chief Deputy Duane Rozendaal told WHOTV that “all evidence” points to arson being the cause of fires at two sites in Jasper County and one site in Mahaska County over the weekend.
The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office said on Monday that it received two separate reports of criminal mischief to excavating equipment.
The Office said it has determined that a bulldozer and two different tracked excavators were set on fire.
The damaged equipment is owned by companies performing work for the project.
The fires damaged at least $1 million worth of equipment in Newtown and Reasnor.
The fire reported in Mahaska County over the weekend may have caused as much as $1.5 million in damages, Radio Iowa said.
No injuries were reported.
“Americans burning American-made equipment, which is owned and operated by American companies, employing American union workers, working on a pipeline owned and operated by an American company for transporting crude oil produced in America for American consumers, is a shameful act by a group of people trying to disrupt our country’s energy security and independence,” Dakota Access told the Des Moines Register.
Dakota Access, a unit of Energy Transfer Partners, told WHOTV that it will increase security along the pipeline’s route.
State and local officials are investigating the blazes.
No arrests have been made in connection with the fires.
The Dakota Access Pipeline Project is a new 1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline that will connect the Bakken and Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois.
The pipeline will be able to transport 450,000 barrels per day with a capacity as high as 570,000 barrels per day or more.