KC McGinnis | February 10, 2016
As Iowa utility regulators continue to debate a proposed pipeline from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota that would run diagonally through the state, nearly 300 Iowa landowners have already rejected offers for the pipeline to run through their land.
The owners of 296 parcels of Iowa land have so far refused attempts by Texas-based Dakota Access LLC to provide easements in exchange for permission to build the 30-inch-diameter pipeline on their land. Concerns range from the pipeline’s safety to its effects on crops and limitations on expansion. Along with the risks associated with increasing fossil fuel use, farmers are worried the pipeline could affect their tile drainage lines or the yields of plants grown above the pipeline. Pipeline builders would need to replace significant amounts of valuable topsoil for the crops to stay viable — something developers have been told they are no longer required to do if it is “infeasible” to do so according to a rule change last year.
According to a report in the Des Moines Register regulators spent part of Tuesday looking at maps of Boone, Buena Vista and Calhoun counties, where farmers have either refused to sell their land or suggested the pipeline be built around their land. Landowners and opponents of the pipeline are skeptical that it would bring any tangible benefits to Iowans, a key argument at stake in whether or not to grant the company eminent domain, or the right to seize private land for use that contributes to a public good.