Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 2.0)
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 2.0)

WHO TV reported last night that Iowa Governor Terry Branstad backs eminent domain for a pipeline that is going through the state.

Dakota Access, LLC wants to use the land for an underground pipeline that would carry roughly a half million barrels of crude oil from North Dakota, through Iowa and to a distribution center in Illinois. Governor Branstad says he believes eminent domain can and should be used for some pipeline projects.

“I don’t think that we should say a blanket statement that eminent domain should never be used,” Branstad said. “But I also believe that the law that is in place that gives the utilities board the responsibility to do it is appropriate.”

This is an abuse of the eminent domain law.  It should never be used for a private interest – period.  Are we to believe Dakota Access, LLC can’t find neighbors who are willing to let the pipeline to go through their property?  It is up to them, not the state of Iowa to make it worth the while of property owners to allow access.

Either Branstad believes in property rights or he doesn’t, it’s quite simple. He needs to look after the interest of Iowans, not just business interests who may have to spend more money to divert their pipeline.

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