Iowa Landowners Sue Over Eminent Domain

Date: August 18, 2015

Farmland owners hope to stop company from taking their property.

A lawsuit filed by three Iowa landowners could give hope to others whose land may be threatened by the proposed Bakken oil pipeline.
Farmland owners in Buena Vista County, Cherokee County and Boone County sued the Iowa Utilities Board, saying the board doesn’t have authority to grant eminent domain in the case, according to the Des Moines Register.
Texas-based Dakota Access is asking the Iowa Utilities Board for permission to construct an underground pipeline to transport crude oil through the state. The $3.8 billion pipeline would originate in North Dakota, travel to South Dakota, then cross diagonally through Iowa before ending in Illinois. If property owners do not agree to sell, the company wants to be able to use eminent domain to take the land and pay the owners.
“Our clients are rightfully upset,” said attorney Richard A. Cook in a statement. “This is their land. And a Texas company just gets to come here and take it?”
 
Legislation was introduced during Iowa’s 2015 session that would have made it harder for the company to use eminent domain, but it failed to pass.
“If the government or business can come in and take your property, or take part of your property for their own gain, then I can’t think of a more egregious freedom infringement,” state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann of Wilton told the Des Moines Register in 2014. “I oppose any out-of-state company getting any condemnation rights. I think that any project like this needs to obtain willing participants.”

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