Two couples in northwest Iowa have gone to court to try to stop construction of the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline.
The landowners in Cherokee County have refused to sign agreements with the pipeline developer and face forced access to their land under the state’s eminent domain law that allows property to be seized.
“We ask the court to stay, that means suspend or stop condemnation on these farmlands until the Iowa Supreme Court gets this all figured out,” says Bill Hanigan, the attorney for the two couples.
Hanigan is arguing Dakota Access should not be allowed to use eminent domain power for the project because it’s not a public utility providing services directly to Iowans. And Hanigan says the clock is ticking because June 13 is the date set for a hearing that will establish the value of Cherokee County farmland targeted for seizure by Dakota Access.
“We’ve asked the court to give us a hearing date for temporary suspension before then because at the end of that hearing, then Dakota Access can take actions immediately to take possession of the farmland,” Hanigan says.
Dakota Access plans to ship crude oil from North Dakota across South Dakota and Iowa to a storage facility in Illinois. The company is awaiting approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for river crossings, but has it begun construction in North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois.
(Reporting by Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)