Bakken Pipeline Lawsuit Dismissed

Cherokee, Iowa — A district judge who is the former Lyon County Attorney has dismissed a case against the Iowa Utilities Board, saying that the plaintiffs in the case had not availed themselves of all of the remedies available to them before filing a lawsuit against the board.

Judge Carl Petersen
Judge Carl Petersen

The proposed “Dakota Access Pipeline” would cut diagonally across Iowa from the northwest to the southeast, crossing Lyon, Sioux and O’Brien Counties among others. 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 to a terminal in Illinois. Opponents of the pipeline have raised environmental concerns.

The suit was filed by several landowners against the IUB saying farmland cannot be taken for eminent domain unless it is for a public utility.

Judge Carl J. Petersen wrote in his decision:

“As all of Petitioners’ potential wrongs are provided for in the relevant statute, intended for review by IUB, and are subject to application for judicial review following IUB’s decision, the wrongs are adequately addressed through the administrative process.”

Judge Peterson did not rule whether the company is eligible to use eminent domain for the proposed pipeline.

The Iowa Utilities 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 in Boone. Energy Transfer Partners wants the pipeline operational by the end of 2016.