In recognition of the approval that came this month from the Iowa Utilities Board, which voted to permit the Dakota Access pipeline to be constructed across their state, I’m linking to a white paper I wrote last year: “Insufficient Freight: An Assessment of U.S. Transporation Infrastructure and Its Effects on the Grain Industry.”
It was published by the American Farm Bureau Federation in July to address how the grain markets get affected when logistical bottlenecks make freight prices skyrocket. In theory, moving Bakken formation crude oil to the Midwest by pipeline rather than rail will help keep rail freight availability more resilient for the grain markets, which have no pipeline alternative. The spiffy maps above show the dark cloud of crappy corn basis that occurred when the railroads were congested — and the hotspots of expensive corn that end users had to pay for when that freight couldn’t get through.
North Dakota, South Dakota, and Illinois (the other states through which the pipeline will run) all previously approved their petitions from Dakota Access, so now it’s a go!