A rural Boone County landowner hosted an event with the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition today on his farm.
Dick Lamb says the farm has been in his family for three generations and they are not willing to voluntarily give an easement to Dakota Access to let the Bakken pipeline run under it.
“The particular focus for us today is slightly different than many other protests — this is about the landowners and particularly the use of eminent domain to acquire the land,” Lamb says.
Lamb and his wife Judy have joined other central Iowa landowners in a lawsuit against the Iowa Utilities Board and the board’s decision to allow Dakota Acess to use eminent domain in this situation.
“We all recognize that eminent domain has to be used for the public good in cases of roads, delivering gas, sewer, water (utilities) to our home,” Lamb says, “but this is different. This is an out-of-state corporation, no connection to Iowa, providing no service to Iowa. Simply wants to make a profit by taking our land for use of transporting a hazardous liquid.”
The IUB recently voted to allow the construction of the pipeline to begin in areas where the company has secured the necessary permits and easements. Lamb says that is a setback to their effort, but they prefer to focus on the positive. “This is a David and Goliath situation — but we believe it is not over yet — that’s our motto, we haven’t seen the end of this. And we are going to pursue this to the end,” according to Lamb. “And we believe that it is realistic that we can stop it yet.”
One of the other speakers at the event is Donnielle Wanatee, a member of the Meskwaki Tribe. While the pipeline will not go through Meskwaki territory, Wanatee says it still impacts them.
“It does affect me, because we are in Iowa, we are Iowans. And when this pipeline breaks and contaminates the water, it is Iowans the elders and the children who are going to be the first to go. And so, I cannot turn a blind eye when this type of toxic pipeline is going through the state of Iowa with no benefit to Iowans, really,” Wanatee says.
Wanatee also expressed concern that the pipeline builders have been given permission to drill under sacred Native American ground in Lyon County. “If they can get away with that — with going 85 feet under burial mounds — what is left sacred in the state of Iowa anymore?,” Wanatee asks. “If they can do that to Native Americans, what can they do next to Iowans? What is to say that they can be stopped from doing that to any cemetery they come across in the way of this pipeline.”
Wanatee says this is about more than the people who are protesting right now. She says it extends to future generations as well. “How far down the line are you willing to sacrifice your ancestors or your bloodline for that? It’s like the IUB pimped out my great grandchildren and I don’t even have grandchildren yet,” Wanatee says. “And so that is something that has to change in the state of Iowa.”
The Lambs and other speakers are calling upon the U.S. Army Corps to deny Dakota Access’s request for permits to cross dozens of rivers and waterways and to stop the pipeline. The Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition plans a floating protest Saturday from Pilot Mound on the Des Moines River down to north of Fraser. That is a section where the pipeline is supposed to cross the river.