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Legal Issues

Iowa landowners file brief against use of eminent domain by Dakota Access Pipeline - October 1, 2016

On Friday, September 30, Bill Hanigan of the Davis Brown Law Firm filed a new brief with the Polk County District Court. The brief is part of the ongoing lawsuit that asks if a private company, which provides no service to Iowans, may use the state’s power of eminent domain to seize land from Iowa citizens for the pipeline’s private use.

In August, Mr. Hanigan filed a motion with the court to temporarily prevent construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline across the property of fourteen Iowa landowners while the lawsuit remained pending. The court denied the request and the pipeline was installed on all fourteen landowners’ property against their will.

The brief filed yesterday is in preparation of oral arguments scheduled for December 15. It asks the court to revoke Dakota Access’s use of eminent domain and to order Dakota Access to remove the pipeline from the property of the fourteen Iowa landowners.

“I don’t understand how Dakota Access can seize my family’s farm,” said landowner and Davis Brown client, Cyndy Coppola, “Dakota Access is a private, out-of-state company and that’s not right. Worse, we are fighting what I believe to be an unethical corporation transporting hazardous, fracked oil and getting no help from our own government.”

Earlier this year, the Iowa Utilities Board ruled that Dakota Access may use the state’s power of eminent domain and could proceed with its proposed oil pipeline.

Mr. Hanigan argues that the IUB misinterpreted Iowa law, specifically the 2006 law designed to protect Iowa farmland, and the United States Constitution. The landowners believe that Dakota Access is not a public utility and should not have the ability to use eminent domain to forcibly access Iowa landowners’ property to build a private pipeline.

For previous Dakota Access lawsuit updates, please review the Legal Issues section of the website.