A hearing on Thursday, October 8, 2015, at 9:30 a.m. at the Cherokee County District Court will establish whether an Iowa court has an immediate right to hear arguments about whether Dakota Access will have the power of eminent domain. The hearing will also determine if three Iowa landowners’ lawsuit against the Iowa Utilities Board will continue to move forward.
In July, Bill Hanigan of the Davis Brown Law firm and Richard A. Cook of the Cook Law Firm, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Iowa landowners Brent Jesse, Verdell Johnson, and Richard Lamb regarding the Texas-owned company, Dakota Access, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners and Phillips 66. Dakota Access plans to use eminent domain to forcibly access Iowa landowners’ property for the 1,134-mile Bakken oil pipeline.
In August, both the Iowa Utilities Board and Dakota Access filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The utility board believes their administrative agency handles eminent domain matters, not a court. The Iowa landowners and plaintiffs maintain this is a decision that should be made by a court, not an administrative agency.
If the court rules against the landowners, they will have to adhere to the Iowa Utilities Board’s eminent domain processes, including participation in the public hearings scheduled in Boone, Iowa during November, and any appeals from those hearings. If Dakota Access receives a right to use eminent domain, then the landowners believe it will affect the value of the land they refused to sell.
If the court rules in favor of the landowners, then the matter will move forward to a full hearing about whether Dakota Access has a right to use eminent domain.
About the Cook Law Firm
Herrick, Ary, Cook, Cook, Cook, & Cook was established in 1869 in Cherokee, Iowa. The firm practices primarily in the areas of estate planning and probate, civil litigation, income tax, banking and commercial law, real estate, and general practice matters, regularly assisting clients with agricultural issues.
About the Private Property Rights Coalition
The Private Property Rights Coalition (PPRC) is a non-profit 501(b) association formed to protect Iowa farmland and private property rights from the proposed use of eminent domain by the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Private Property Rights Fund (PPRF) collects funds from members (people with property along the pipeline) and donations from the public for the purpose of funding the litigation against Dakota Access. Keith Puntenney serves as president and John Murray as the secretary-treasurer. Those interested in joining the PPRC or donating to the PPRF may contact Keith at email@example.com, 515-230-1001 or John at firstname.lastname@example.org , 712-732-8181.