Cherokee, Iowa — Two couples in northwest Iowa have gone to court to try to stop construction of the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline. The landowners in Cherokee County have refused to sign agreements with the pipeline developer and face forced access to their land under the state’s eminent domain law that allows property to be seized. Bill Hanigan is the attorney for the two couples.
Hanigan is arguing Dakota Access should not be allowed to use eminent domain power for the project because it’s not a public utility providing services directly to Iowans. He says according to law the pipeline has to be under the jurisdiction of the Iowa Utilities Board, and once the IUB signs off on it, it becomes a federally-regulated pipeline. And Hanigan says the clock is ticking because June 13th is the date set for a hearing that will establish the value of Cherokee County farmland targeted for seizure by Dakota Access.
He says that he doesn’t expect a decision on the main case until this fall.
Hanigan says he thinks many suits will soon be filed.
Dakota Access plans to pipe crude oil from North Dakota across South Dakota and Iowa to a storage facility in Illinois. The company is awaiting approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for river crossings, but has it begun construction in North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois.