Pipeline investigation

Authorities investigate vandalism of the Dakota Access pipeline near 165th Street in Wapello County Tuesday evening.

DES MOINES — Two women have admitted to acts of vandalism along the Dakota Access Pipeline, including attacks in Mahaska and Wapello counties.

Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya held a press conference Monday outside the Iowa Utility Board offices and claimed to have repeatedly vandalized the pipeline. The Des Moines Register describes the women as being “involved in Iowa’s Catholic Worker social justice movement.” They apparently started their vandalism spree in Mahaska County, and were behind the attempt in May to cut into the pipe in Wapello County.

The press conference ended when they attacked the IUB sign with a hammer and crowbar, leading to their arrests.

Sheriff Mark Miller said in May that multiple agencies, including the FBI, were looking into the Wapello County incident. That case involved a cut fence and unspecified damage to the site. He said the vandalism was dangerous and could have cost the vandals their lives.

The vandalism in Mahaska County came about 10 months earlier. The Oskaloosa Herald, one of the Courier’s sister papers, reported that fires set along the construction sites did “significant damage to equipment and property.”

The fires were clearly set intentionally. One official was quoted at the time as saying “three or four machines don’t just catch fire.”

The pipeline travels more than 343 miles through Wapello and the adjacent counties. The amounts in each county vary considerably. Wapello County has less than 11 miles of pipeline, while Mahaska County has more than 32 miles.

The pipeline, which can carry up to 520,000 barrels of oil per day, began operating June 1.


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