Image courtesy of Joe Mabel/Wikimedia Commons.

Citizen groups in Iowa have submitted petitions calling on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to halt all construction work on the Dakota Access pipeline.

According to Radio Iowa, groups opposed to the pipeline submitted petitions to the DOJ’s office in Des Moines protesting the $3.7 billion project.

The groups have asked the DOJ to review the project’s construction permits and stop all construction work on the pipeline.

The petitions also claim that Native American groups living along the pipeline’s route were not properly consulted about the project.

According to the group’s website, the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement also plan to blockade a Dakota Access construction site next week.

According to the Des Moines Register, lawyers for Dakota Access LLC told the Iowa Utilities Board late last month that nearly a quarter of the pipeline’s section in Iowa has been welded and lowered into the ground.

Native American and environmentalist groups have been protesting the project and expressed concerns about potential impacts on water quality and sacred sites.

Construction on a portion of the line in North Dakota was halted last week by federal officials amid protests from Native American and environmentalist groups.

The U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Interior and the Department of the Army halted construction of the pipeline on Army Corps of Engineers land bordering or under Lake Oahe.

Lake Oahe straddles the border between North Dakota and South Dakota.

Construction will be paused until the Army Corps can “determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act or other federal laws.”

The federal agencies have requested that Energy Transfer, the pipeline’s operator, also halt all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.

The majority of the pipeline’s route travels across privately-held land and neither Lake Oahe or the land abutting it are owned or controlled by a Native American group.

The Army Corps decision was released on the same day that a U.S. District Court rejected a challenge to construction permits granted by the Army Corps.

District Court Judge James Boasberg ruled against the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe last week after the tribe filed a lawsuit claiming the Army Corps of Engineers violated environmental and historical preservation laws when it approved the project.

Boasberg declined to pause construction after finding the tribe failed to demonstrate that work related to the project is “likely to cause damage.”

In his decision, Judge Boasberg noted that only 1 percent of the pipeline will affect U.S. waterways.

In a memo obtained by Common Dreams earlier this week, Energy Transfer CEO Kelcy Warren wrote that his firm is “committed to completing construction and safely operating the Dakota Access Pipeline within the confines of the law.”

Warren said that concerns about the pipeline’s impact on the local water supply “are unfounded” and noted the line runs adjacent to an existing natural gas pipeline.

Warren added that “multiple archaeological studies” carried out with state preservation offices found “no sacred items” along the project’s route.

Construction has been completed on about 60 percent of the pipeline, Warren said in his memo.

The 470,000 barrel per day pipeline is currently expected to be online sometime in late 2016.


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