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Legal Issues

Iowa landowners disappointed by court's Dakota Access eminent domain decision - February 15, 2017

On Wednesday, February 15, the Polk County Iowa District Court decided that Texas-owned company, Dakota Access, had lawfully used the state’s power of eminent domain to seize land from Iowa citizens for the Bakken oil pipeline.

The decision comes after December 15 oral arguments, when 14 Iowa landowners asked the court to revoke Dakota Access’ use of eminent domain and order the company to remove the pipeline from the landowners’ properties.

“We are disappointed,” said Davis Brown Law Firm attorney, Bill Hanigan, “but we’re not deterred. A private, out-of-state company, which doesn’t serve Iowans, should not be able to use eminent domain to seize Iowa farmland for the purpose of exporting crude oil.”

One of the 14 landowners, Dick Lamb said, “We’re not giving up. We don’t want this pipeline, and I think most Iowans don’t want it either.”

The next step in the case is an appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court. The landowners intend to appeal before the 30-day deadline.

Last August, Mr. Hanigan filed a motion with the court to prevent construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline across the property of 14 Iowa landowners while the lawsuit was pending. The court denied the request and the pipeline was installed on all 14 landowners’ property against their will.

Mr. Hanigan argues that the IUB misinterpreted Iowa law and the Takings Clause of the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution. The landowners believe that Dakota Access does not serve a “public use” and should not have the ability to use eminent domain to forcibly access Iowa landowners’ property to build a private pipeline.