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Land owners should be cautious of pipeline agreements

Published: Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 10:37 a.m. CDT

To the editor,

As lifetime family farmers and rural property owners, we strongly urge Iowa land owners in the path of the proposed Bakken oil pipeline to refuse signing agreements with Transfer Energy Partners or Dakota Energy, LLC giving them access to your property for land assessments and surveys. 

This project has not yet been approved by Governor Branstad or the Iowa Utilities Board and there is no reason to grant survey requests while there are still crops in the field. Survey equipment could cause soil compaction and crop damage. The consent forms provided by the big oil corporation do not explicitly guarantee adequate compensation for any crop or soil damage caused during land surveys.

We recommend that land owners who do approve the company’s survey request consider demanding revisions to the consent forms to limit the scope and timing of surveying and allow for fair compensation to damaged crops or soil. 

Informational meetings held by the big oil corporation may be held in late September, potentially during peak harvest season. This may make it difficult for some impacted property owners to attend the meetings. A 30-day notice is required to be posted before the meetings can begin. After the meetings are completed, the company may apply for a permit petition. 

Public hearings and a formal input process will start after a permit petition is filed. If the project is approved by Governor Branstad and the Iowa Utilities Board, land owners who do not agree to sell permanent 50-foot easements and allow for a 150-foot right-a-way for construction on their land could have their property confiscated under eminent domain laws. Construction could also compact soil, interfere with planting and harvest, and may cause additional damage to crops and drainage tiles.

We are very skeptical that this project could ever be in the public interest, as it does not appear that it will create permanent jobs and poses a significant risk to Iowa’s air, soil, and water quality. 

For more information, please contact Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement at 515.282.0484 or iowacci@iowacci.org

Larry Ginter


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