Cherokee, Iowa — A judge in Cherokee County will hear motions on Thursday, October 8th, to dismiss the case against the Iowa Utilities Board (or IUB) in the matter of whether to grant eminent domain to the company that wants to put in a crude oil pipeline through northwest Iowa.
The hearing at the Cherokee County Courthouse, scheduled for 9:30 AM on Thursday will decide the merits of the IUB’s motion to dismiss.
The proposed pipeline would cut diagonally across Iowa from the northwest to the southeast. The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) is expected to decide in December or January whether the project may proceed.
The board is considering whether to grant eminent domain requests to Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, so the company can acquire land and pump crude oil from fields in North Dakota, diagonally across Iowa, to a terminal in Illinois. Opponents of the pipeline have raised environmental concerns and several landowners have filed a lawsuit against the IUB saying farmland cannot be taken for eminent domain unless it is for a public utility. The board has scheduled November 12 for public comment and November 16 for an evidentiary hearing. Both will take place at the Boone County Fairgrounds Community Building. Energy Transfer Partners wants the pipeline operational by the end of 2016.
A group of Iowa landowners is suing the Iowa Utilities Board, saying it’s an effort to protect their property. They claim that agents from the proposed Dakota Access pipeline have told them if they don’t agree to easements that allow the pipeline onto their property, they will have their land seized by the state of Iowa. Attorney Bill Hanigan says the state’s utilities board has no authority to grant eminent domain to Dakota Access, because the pipeline doesn’t provide services in the state.
The pipeline company says it has obtained easement agreements on more than 75 percent of the tracts along the proposed route in the four states through which it is proposed.
The route would have the pipeline go through 18 Iowa counties, including Lyon, Sioux, and O’Brien counties in our area.