Cherokee, Iowa — A group of Iowa landowners is suing the Iowa Utilities Board, saying it’s an effort to protect their property from the Dakota Access pipeline, which aims to carry crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields, through South Dakota, Iowa and into south-central Illinois. 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.
“Dakota Access however delivers nothing to Iowans and it receives nothing from Iowans. Furthermore crude oil is not even consumable by anyone until further refined. And Iowa has not crude oil refineries,” Hanigan says. Landowners also say the pipeline will harm agricultural production because it will cause excessive heat and water. Boone County farm owner, Dick Lamb, says he does not want to allow the Dakota Access pipeline onto his property, and says he’s being threatened by agents of the company.
“The buyers have said if you don’t settle with us, you’re going to have to face eminent domain. And that is going to be a terrible situation that you don’t want to go through,” Lamb says. “So yes, I would say I feel threatened.” Texas-based Energy Transfer — the parent company behind Dakota Access — and the Iowa Utilities Board both say they do not comment on pending litigation. The pipeline company says it has obtained easement agreements on more than 61 percent of the tracts along the proposed route in Iowa.
The lawsuit was filed this week in Cherokee County District Court.
Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has announced that he is extending the State of Disaster Emergency in response to the avian flu outbreak through August 30th, 2015. This is the third extension the governor has made to the original disaster proclamation. The current disaster proclamation would have expired on July 31st, 2015, without an extension from the governor.
The extension is separate from an extension of the suspension of some rules regarding poultry manure and composting of birds, which were extended to the end of the year.
This proclamation of disaster emergency does the following —
Activates the disaster response and recovery aspect of the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department’s (HSEMD) Iowa Emergency Response Plan.
Authorizes the use and deployment of all available state resources, supplies, equipment, and materials as are deemed reasonably necessary by the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and Iowa HSEMD in order to do the following:
A. Track and monitor instances of confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza throughout the state of Iowa and the country,
B. Establish importation restrictions and prohibitions in respect to animals suspected of suffering from this disease,
C. Rapidly detect any presumptive or confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza within Iowa’s borders,
D. Contain the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within our state through depopulation, disinfections, and disposal of livestock carcasses,
E. Engage in detection activities, contact tracking, and other investigatory work to stop the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within our state, and
F. Eliminate the disease in those disaster counties where it has been found and lessen the risk of this disease spreading to our state as a whole.
Temporarily authorizes the Iowa HSEMD, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), the Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), other state agencies, and local law enforcement agencies and private contractors employed by the same to remove and/or dispose of live animals and animal carcasses on publicly or privately owned land when those live animals and/or carcasses threaten public health or safety.
Authorizes the Iowa HSEMD, the Iowa DOT, the Iowa DPS, the Iowa DNR, IDPH, other state agencies, and local law enforcement agencies to implement stop movement and stop loading restrictions and other control zone measures as are reasonably deemed necessary, including establishing buffer zones, checkpoints, and cleaning and disinfecting operations at checkpoints and borders surrounding any quarantine areas established by the IDALS or at any other location in the state of Iowa, in order to stop the spread of this contagious disease.
Authorizes state agencies to assist the IDALS in disinfection, depopulation, and livestock carcass disposal efforts.
Temporarily waives restrictions to allow for the timely and efficient disposal of poultry carcasses.
Temporarily suspends the regulatory provisions pertaining to hours of service for commercial vehicle drivers hauling poultry carcasses infected with or exposed to highly pathogenic avian influenza or while hauling loads otherwise related to the response to this disaster during its duration, subject to certain conditions outlined in the disaster proclamation.
Statewide Iowa — Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement are turning in petition signatures to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, calling for tougher enforcement of the Clean Water Act. Jess Mazour, I-C-C-I’s farm and environment organizer, says the comments were focused on the D-N-R’s draft list of impaired waterways. She says more accountability is needed.
“We decided we were going to get as many comments as we can, offering a solution to some of these problems,” Mazour says. “In our eyes, issuing Clean Water Act permits and holding factory farms and manure polluters accountable is one way we can start cleaning up Iowa’s waters. We got about 2,000 comments collected online and in person from across the state and then we hand-delivered them to the DNR.” Mazour says tougher rules and better enforcement are needed to protect the state’s waters.
Not a single hog confinement in Iowa has a Clean Water Act permit and the current permitting system is not working, obviously, because we continue to have manure spill after manure spill,” Mazour says. “We know these factory farms are basically getting away with polluting and the DNR’s not doing anything about it. We think the Clean Water Act will give them tougher regulations to follow and then start cleaning up our water.” Mazour says the agency could use more state dollars to be able to enforce state environmental regulations.
“The DNR needs more funding to hire more inspectors,” she says. “Right now, there’s only 15.75 full-time equivalent inspectors for over 9,000 of these facilities in Iowa. Obviously, the Clean Water Act needs to be implemented. They need to start issuing tough fines and penalties when manure spills occur.” The DNR’s most recent list of impaired waterways in Iowa is at 725, that’s up from 630 in 2012.
Primghar, Iowa — The O’Brien County Board of Supervisors has voted to give $5000 to the Sac, Calhoun and Buena Vista County legal defense in the case against the Des Moines Water Works.
The water utility says those three counties aren’t proactive enough in preventing agricultural runoff.
According to the O’Brien County Board of Supervisors, the suit will have an impact on all counties whether they have drainage districts or not. They say the counties named in the suit have hired an attorney from Washington, DC who has expertise in the Federal Clean Water Act. The vote to provide the $5000 for the legal defense fund passed on a unanimous vote by the board of supervisors.
Des Moines Water Works says the alleged failure to prevent agricultural runoff is causing an excessive financial burden on the city to remove nitrates from the water supply.
According to the Des Moines Water Work’s petition, in the summer of 2013, fall of 2014 and winter of 2015, nitrate levels in the Raccoon River reached record peaks. Bill Stowe, CEO and general manager of Des Moines Water Works, alleges the drainage districts in the three northwest Iowa counties are violating the federal Clean Water Act. Stowe says the system to remove the nitrates costs $7,000 per day to operate.
Sheldon, Iowa — The following was submitted to KIWA by a member of the Sheldon FFA:
On Tuesday July 21, 2015 junior Jake Roos showed cattle at the O’Brien county fair in Primghar representing the Sheldon FFA. He was the Champion of his Light Weight Steer Class. On Wednesday July 22, 2015 Jake showed hogs. He got First in Class 3 Pen of 3 Market Pigs, and Reserved Champion in Pen of 3 Market Pigs. He did an amazing job and represented the Sheldon FFA extremely well.
Orange City, Iowa — Another 2016 Presidential candidate is coming to northwest Iowa.
This time it’s 2012 Iowa Republican front runner Rick Santorum. This Friday, July 31st, Santorum will start off the day with an appearance in Onawa.
From there it’s on to the Plymouth County Fair in Le Mars. He’ll be there at 5 PM and will be joined by Iowa State Representative Chuck Soderberg.
Then it’s on to Orange City for an evening stop at 7:30 PM. Santorum aides say it will be a “pizza-and-politics town hall meeting” at the Orange City Pizza Ranch on Highway 10 East.
Aides also say it’s possible that more stops may be added as well.