[ exact phrase in "" • results by date ]

[ Google-powered • results by relevance ]


Add NWW headlines to your site (click here)

when your community is targeted

Get weekly updates

RSS feeds and more

Keep Wind Watch online and independent!

Donate via Stripe

Donate via Paypal

Selected Documents

All Documents

Research Links


Press Releases


Campaign Material

Photos & Graphics


Allied Groups

Wind Watch is a registered educational charity, founded in 2005.

News Watch Home

Court: Iowa eminent domain laws must be strictly followed 

Credit:  Associated Press | globegazette.com ~~

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday that county officials failed to follow state law when preparing to condemn more than 2,000 acres of farmland to build a lake, a decision that puts government agencies on notice that mistakes in eminent domain cases could be costly.

Owners of the farmland near Osceola challenged the Clarke County Reservoir Commission’s plan to condemn the property to build the 800-acre lake to provide a new drinking-water source for the area.

The high court’s ruling sends the case back to district court, where a farming family will continue its challenge of the project and perhaps insist that the commission start the process from the beginning with notifications and public hearings.

David Brown, an attorney for a family trust that owns part of the land, said the case is important because major crude-oil pipeline and wind-energy transmission line projects are pending before the Iowa Utilities Board, which has yet to determine whether eminent domain may be used to force landowners to sell farmland for the projects.

“The rules matter because it’s the little guy against city hall,” he said. “You’ve got to follow procedures to a “t” because it’s an enormous use of government power.”

The reservoir commission initially included several city governments, the county, local water associations and the Clarke County Development Corp., a private economic development group, which does not have eminent domain authority. The commission in 2012 sent required notices to property owners, held public hearings and began the process of condemning land.

The family trust set up by Edwin and Deloris Robins sued, saying the commission could not lawfully exercise eminent domain because it consisted of a private agency that did not have the authority under Iowa law to do so. The commission later reorganized without the economic development group.

The family also challenged whether the reservoir was a legitimate public use. As originally designed, the lake, which is expected to cost more than $37 million, was to provide drinking water and serve as an area recreational attraction. The trust alleged the lake was primarily being built for recreational use and its stated purpose as a drinking-water source was false. The commission later removed the recreational use portions of the project and a judge ruled the lake was a legitimate public use project and qualified for eminent domain.

The trust’s attorney, Brown, asked the court to throw out the entire process, make the commission start over again, and allow the trust to again challenge the legitimacy of the public purpose. The high court agreed.

“We’re dealing with a very fundamental right here, taking property from people,” Chief Justice Mark Cady said during arguments in February.

“When we’re dealing with a right of this nature isn’t it important for the public to see government work the way it’s supposed to work?” he said.

Ivan Webber, the attorney for the commission, did not immediately return messages.

During February arguments he asked the justices to allow the project to move forward without starting over. He said all commission members now have eminent domain authority, curing the problem and rendering the challenge moot.

“It’s been fully litigated and fully decided,” he said. “We have a county here already out of water. Let’s get rid of the problem and move forward.”

Source:  Associated Press | globegazette.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Contributions
   Donate via Stripe
(via Stripe)
Donate via Paypal
(via Paypal)


e-mail X FB LI M TG TS G Share

News Watch Home

Get the Facts
© National Wind Watch, Inc.
Use of copyrighted material adheres to Fair Use.
"Wind Watch" is a registered trademark.


Wind Watch on X Wind Watch on Facebook Wind Watch on Linked In

Wind Watch on Mastodon Wind Watch on Truth Social

Wind Watch on Gab Wind Watch on Bluesky