116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES - Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday it is an appropriate option for state regulators to consider granting the use of eminent domain as it pertains to constructing oil pipelines in Iowa.
'I think eminent domain should be used only very sparingly, but there are times when it is appropriate,” Branstad said in telling reporters he plans to allow the Iowa Utilities Board decide whether eminent domain authority is justified for the proposed Bakken oil pipeline through Iowa in cases where landowners and the pipeline company can't agree to terms of a voluntary easement. 'So, I don't think we should make a blanket statement that eminent domain should never be used.”
Last weekend. 2016 Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul, a Kentucky senator, weighed in on a controversial pipeline project in Iowa by declaring that 'No private property owner should have their land taken through eminent domain and transferred to another for-profit company.”
The pipeline proposed by Dakota Access, LLC - a subsidiary of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners - would carry up to 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the Bakken and Three Forks region of North Dakota through South Dakota and diagonally across 18 counties in Iowa to a terminal in Patoka, Ill. Each state will need to grant permission separately.
The Iowa Utilities Board is the regulating agency that will decide whether to grant a hazardous liquid pipeline permit in the state to Dakota Access, and separately whether eminent domain can be used to site it, Branstad said Monday.
Hearings are set to begin Nov. 12, and rulings are expected by the end of the year. If eminent domain is granted, county compensation commissions would determine the value of the land, which Dakota Access would have to pay.
Bills seeking to make it more difficult to use eminent domain in Iowa failed to win legislative support during the Iowa General Assembly's 2015 session. Dakota Access officials have indicated they already have obtained voluntary easements on more than 68 percent of the tracts of land needed in Iowa, while IUB officials estimate eminent domain may pertain to about 37 percent of the affected land.
During his meeting with affected Jasper County farmers on Saturday, Paul said 'there are times we have to use eminent domain for roads and things like that, but for this, if it is going to another private property owner, I don't think the government should be taking property through eminent domain.”
During his weekly news conference on Monday, Branstad told reporters 'they're not taking the land, they are only using the land to put a pipeline through, and we have thousands of miles of pipeline in this state” that transport various energy-related products.
Also Monday, Branstad followed up on an announcement he made in Cedar Rapids last month by providing details for the upcoming events that will celebrate the six-term governor becoming the longest-serving governor in American history on Dec. 14 - which will be his 7,640th day on the job as Iowa's chief elected officer.
Branstad is encouraging the public on that day to attend an open house at his formal Statehouse office and a separate milestone dinner at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, which costs $50 per person with tickets including a copy of Gov. Branstad's biography, commemorative bookmark and entry to the dinner.
All proceeds that are raised from the Milestone Dinner Event, sales from the governor's biography and other tax-deductible donations will go into the newly formed Governor Branstad Iowa History Fund. The funds will be made available to any organization and project that is dedicated to renewing Iowa's heritage through the preserving and restoring of historical landmarks and promoting Iowa's history, his office said, and the grants will be given on a competitive basis.
Branstad, 68, will claim the 'longest-serving” title from New York Gov. George Clinton, whose tenure included time both before and after the United Stated won independence from retain. He told reporters he has invited former U.S. Rep. Neal Smith, Iowa's longest-serving congressman, current and past U.S. senators and representatives and a number of other dignitaries to attend next month.