Republican Congressman Steve King says he’s hearing from landowners who’re complaining the government’s “eminent domain” authority has been used to seize their private property for the Bakken oil pipeline that’s being built through his district.
“I absolutely do have concerns about the use and abuse of eminent domain,” King says. “And I have a complete disagreement with the Supreme Court decision from about 2005, the Kelo decision, which concluded private property could be taken for private use.”
King is not opposed to construction of the pipeline, but King suggests Iowa officials should have decided whether the pipeline was “a public utility” before granting developers permission to seize property for the project.
“When they make a mistake in the court and essentially rewrite our constitution…we run into problems like this,” King says.
King’s Democratic opponent is Kim Weaver of Sheldon and she, took, objects to the use of eminent domain to seize property from landowners unwilling to sign contracts with the pipeline developers.
“I am not in favor of the pipeline at all,” Weaver says.
The first time Weaver drove by a construction site where land was being cleared for the project, she stopped to take a picture.
“As a lifelong Iowan, as the great-granddaughter of people who homesteaded in South Dakota and my dad told me the pipeline is actually going through a corner of the old family farm, I’m adamantly opposed,” Weaver says.
The underground pipeline will ship crude oil from North Dakota, through South Dakota and diagonally through 18 Iowa counties en route to a refinery in Illinois. Company officials notified the Iowa Utilities Board that nearly 60 percent of the pipeline work in Iowa had been completed by October 9.
Federal authorities have joined local officials to investigate a recent arson fire that destroyed about $2 million worth of pipeline equipment positioned in Jasper County.