No eminent domain for private gain! SSB 1276 passes out of committee

For immediate release: 05.05.15

Contact Nathan Malachowski with Iowa CCI for more information: nathan@iowacci.org, 515 282 0484

Senate Government Oversight Committee passes legislation to tighten eminent domain regulations on proposed Bakken Pipeline

CCI members and impacted landowners commend leadership to protect everyday Iowans

Des Moines, IA. Today the Iowa Senate Government Oversight Committee met to discuss Senate Study Bill 1276, which would tighten regulations on eminent domain to better protect Iowa landowners impacted by the proposed Bakken Pipeline. The legislation, proposed by Senator Rob Hogg, would require that:

  • Before eminent domain or condemnation power can be granted by the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB), the pipeline company needs 75 percent voluntary signup of the land that is proposed for the pipeline route.
  • Before a permit is granted for the pipeline, the Iowa Economic Development Board needs to recommend the project in the annual report as required under Iowa Code Section 473.15.
  • If eminent domain is granted, the IUB may order the pipeline company to pay reasonable attorney fees to allow a private owner access to an attorney.
  • After the eminent domain proceedings, the pipeline company must pay the costs of the assessment as well the appraisal that the landowner will need in the condemnation proceedings if the award from the condemnation board exceeds the final offer from the pipeline company.

Nearly 30 people attended the committee meeting, after a subcommittee meeting last week was attended by nearly 100 people, including many landowners.

Vern Tigges, a CCI member of 20 years from Adel noted that, “The Committee meeting went very well. It was great to speak with landowners that made last minute calls to Senator Garrett and Senator Whitver. It’s clear that the Senators were with us at the Committee meeting.”

Before the Committee convened at 2:00 PM, Iowa CCI Action Fund members spoke with landowners impacted by the pipeline- 34 landowners made last minute calls into the Senators urging them to vote yes on Senate Study Bill 1276.

“Of the landowners that we spoke with, it was great to see nearly unanimous support” added Brenda Brink, CCI member of Huxley. “Some folks even wanted us to talk to their relatives. This all makes it clear that we need stronger protections for landowners when it comes to eminent domain and the proposed Bakken Pipeline.”

As it stands, the laws and permitting process laid out by the Iowa Utilities Board is inadequate to protect Iowans. Many landowners have also made it clear that Energy Transfer Partners is using manipulation and misinformation to persuade landowners into signing easements.

“One landowner already signed an easement, but was still on our side” said Jerry Weiner of Des Moines. “We need to stand up beside landowners, have more informational meetings across Iowa, and support these folks in whatever way possible.”

Iowa CCI Action Fund, and their sister organization Iowa CCI, are part of a growing number of organizations, landowners, and everyday citizens across the state committed to stopping the proposed Bakken Pipeline from construction. They are currently working to plan community meetings across the state in the 18 counties impacts by the proposed Bakken Pipeline.

Iowa CCI is a statewide, grassroots people’s action group that uses community organizing to win public policy that puts communities before corporations and people before profits, politics, and polluters.

For more information, visit www.iowacci.org.