A Pipeline, Eminent Domain, Possible Corruption, And The Power Of The State

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Governor Branstad has found himself in the middle of a great deal of controversy over the Bakken Pipeline that is about to run through the heart of Iowa farmland to benefit a private corporation, based in Texas, that has economic ties to his friends.

Personally, like 64 percent of Iowans, I don’t have a problem with a private company putting a pipeline across Iowa so long as they pay for it and as long as they don’t rely on the taxpayers to clean up any damages it causes.   What I and 74 percent of Iowans do have a problem with is a private company using big government to declare eminent domain to steal the property rights of farmers so they can run their pipeline across our state for their own monetary gain.

Some people have compared the pipeline with the state using eminent domain to build a highway or a local utility pipeline.  It is not the same.  This is a private company.  It has no major benefit to the people of Iowa unlike a road, hospital, or a telephone line.  It would not be right for me to start a corporation and then to get the state of Iowa to allow me onto your property so my new corporation can make a profit from your land.

The Republican Party of Iowa is in a tough position as well.  In their platform, they oppose eminent domain used to benefit private companies.

We oppose federal or state government taking private property away from the owner for the use of another private party. Eminent domain should be used only for public use, and we call for Congress to overturn the Kelo (Eminent Domain) ruling.

While their platform may oppose using eminent domain to benefit a private company, their Republican Governor supports, even if only on occasion, allowing eminent domain to be used to benefit private companies.  Branstad has fought to make sure that the Iowa Utilities Board makes the ultimate decision if the state of Iowa will declare eminent domain to build the pipeline.  In fact, he doesn’t want the state legislature to have any say in the matter.  Want to take a guess on who appoints this “independent” utilities board?  You guessed it.  It is Governor Branstad.

Then there was the Houston campaign event, in 2013, where Branstad held a fundraiser with former Texas Governor and Presidential candidate Rick Perry.  Branstad says he didn’t know about the proposed pipeline until the next year and, at this point, I have no proof that he did.  Perry was later appointed to the board of directors for the company trying to get the Bakken Pipeline to run through Iowa.

Earlier in the year, Branstad’s former Chief of Staff joined the Bakken Pipeline as a paid lobbyist. Additionally, KCCI had reported in May that a large amount of the pipeline has been brought into Newton which sounds very confident when the Iowa Utilities Board won’t make their decision until at least December or January.

You can see the power private companies have over our government when compared to the local farmer wanting to keep the rights to their land.  Maybe if the farmers had more money to pay lobbyists and run for political office, the state of Iowa would be a little more concerned with their rights instead of helping a private company based in Texas.

  • Brenda Knox

    Thank you.

  • WIlliam Vonnegut

    And yet, America continues to go to this track, and the powers that be ignore the real problems, such as fedora wearers.

    • Dave Owens

      I’ll bet you double pop your 2 polos, don’t you?

      • WIlliam Vonnegut

        Listen Dave, you can be glib all you want, but this pipeline and the Iowa gvt in bed with corporations is srs business, and we need non-fedora wearing media on this. People’s livelihood and property are at stake here, so I’m not going to sit around and make little jokes.

        • Dave Owens

          Listen Bill, there are corporations in bed with all forms of gvt, and having popped collar frat boys trolling the internet ain’t helping that situation either. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that your livelihood ain’t at stake, but that’s only due to your trust fund that daddy left you. Now run along, I’m sure you have an IPA and a fireball to down with your pals.

          • WIlliam Vonnegut

            First off Dame, no one talks to an Omega Nu liek that. B, all of our livelihood is at stake when fedora wearers are the only ones willing to do real, investigative journalism. How many people will be hurt, how many lives will be ruined, when important issues are ignored because the only ones talking about them are inept beta-males who look like they’re should be discussing Pokeman on 4chan.

          • Iowa Free Press

            The

          • Iowa Free Press

            The fedora was a temporary photo. We didn’t think it would cause as much controversy in the comments section as the pipeline would.

            Also, Al Capone wore a fedora. Most wouldn’t call him an inept beta-male and we don’t even know what a Pokeman or a 4chan is.

          • Dave Owens

            You don’t need to explain yourself to frat boy bill up there.

          • WIlliam Vonnegut

            Dave, it sounds like you have an interest in getting this pipeline built. You’re probably sitting in your office in Texas, admiring your closet full of lame hats, thinking about switching to Porkpie after you make a mint stealing the land of hardworking Iowan bros.

          • Dave Owens

            Lemme guess, you spent the last 2 hours on thechive and you’re exhausted from the beat off fest you’ve had. Go to sleep, son, you’ve got a long Saturday ahead of you full of beer bongs and Jell-O shots. Maybe 3 popped polos today? I mean, it is the weekend!

          • Leon Shisler

            Every body does it so it is OK ? Great logic —so U S CItizenship.

  • Dennis Scott

    Much to do about nothing. Nobody is out anything. It is a buried pipeline you idiots. And the property owners are paid for the use of the easement.

    • http://onanov.com Donald Baxter
    • Dr. Filth

      *ado

    • Sandy

      Perhaps if it were your property you might feel differently. I would not want a buried pipeline on my property and I wouldn’t want someone using eminent domain to force the issue. This is wrong and I hope it does not happen.

    • Russ Swearingen

      Who’s responsible for the cleanup when it leaks, not if it leaks. The Bakken pipeline in Michigan is still being cleaned up 4 years after the pipeline leaked for over 8 hours. Is certain states, such as Oklahoma, that cost is transferred to the citizens of the state. So when a pipeline bursts there, the owner of the pipeline pays nothing in the cleanup effort.

    • gremmie69

      another pipeline pumping poison into America’s butt. Bend over, enjoy it, and hope they use vaseline.

  • Dr. Filth

    The fedora is just fine as long as there is a “press” card tucked into the hatband.

  • gremmie69

    our democracy has been sold down the river – we are now an oligarchy ruled by the global corporate and banking Empire. Vote for Hillary or Trump – it doesn’t matter. One is owned by the Empire – the other is a member of the Empire. Either way, the robbery will continue and increase. Coming soon to a theater of war near you: WW3.

  • Tim Anderson

    So this is the Keystone XL work-around that Nebraska turned down. Are the farmers being paid a rental fee for their land? I know the conservative Supreme Court upheld eminent domain for private use. The idea that they can’t sue for damages though…that can’t be if it’s a private company right?

  • Jim

    Pipeline safety has a low threshold for quality. Leak after leak rivers, creeks, ground water and soil are polluted beyond repair. Rarely do the corporations pay for the clean up. Rarely do they fix the faulty pipelines. As America becomes more and more polluted and drinkable water scarcer and scarcer, oil companies and Republicans get richer and richer while you get poorer and poorer. As you get sicker and sicker from polluted water you will not get my pity. You get my scorn. You have the chance to cure the filth of America. Stand up to the GOP. Stand up for a clean environment. Vote for a Democrat for a change. They at least have environmental beliefs that protect you and your families. The GOP only protects the oil industry. They protect it by taking paybacks and bribes that line their pockets and fleece you of yours. You know this is true. Time to stop the idiocy of believing the GOP is the party of your grandparents. and parents. That party is dead. Pretending it is what it once was is lunacy. You know it. Time to admit it. Time to act on it. Time to vote your consciences not your distant memory of a party long since dead.