Iowa oil pipeline protesters energized by North Dakota victory

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Coverage by WHO, Des Moines, Iowa, December 5, 2016

Crews have already laid the groundwork for the nearly 350 mile oil pipeline across Iowa. The route runs right across Chris Merten’s farmland in rural Jasper County.

“It looks just as good, some places better than it did before,” said Merten.

Merten believes the federal government decision to deny a permit to build part of the pipeline near Native American lands in North Dakota might delay the project, but it won’t stop it.

“I have no concern that they did it for no reason. The pipe will get filled with oil eventually,” he said.

Bold Iowa Director Ed Fallon says protestors have won a key battle, but the fight isn’t over.

“I wasn’t surprised, but I was still elated, I was ecstatic, I could hardly talk,” said Fallon.

Fallon spent a week on the front lines in North Dakota and was just leaving the camp when he got the big news.

“I’ve been expecting all along that we’re going to win. I really have. I’ve had that feeling all along that we’re going to stop this, partly because I’m a big believer that truth eventually prevails,” explained Fallon.

Despite the celebration, the protesters know their work isn’t done yet.

Bold Iowa is focusing on a court hearing in Polk County on December 15th over the use of eminent domain. A group of landowners filed suit to challenge the Iowa Utility Board’s decision to allow the pipeline to take land for the project against their wishes.