An opponent of construction of an oil pipeline across Iowa is threatening to hit Iowa lawmakers with what hurts – money and votes – if they fail to pass legislation restricting the use of eminent domain by a private company.
“I think this pipeline is probably the worst thing to ever to happen to Iowa,” former House member Ed Fallon of Des Moines said at a Capitol news conference Tuesday, referring to the proposed Bakken pipeline. Proponents call it the Dakota access pipeline.
Fallon, who has walked the 400-mile proposed route, said he will raise $25,000 per race to defeat four majority party incumbents – two House Republicans and two Senate Democrats – if Senate File 506 fails to win passage before the Legislature adjourns, possibly later this week. SF 506 and a companion bill, House Study Bill 249, have been approved by House and Senate Government Oversight committees.
“Defeating one or two incumbents could well change the balance of power at the Statehouse,” Fallon said. Democrats control the Senate 26-24. The House GOP has a 57-43 majority.
Fallon believes the pipeline is wrong for Iowa because it “exacerbates the climate crisis,” could harm waterways, and “further consolidates the unholy alliance of Big Oil and Big Government.”
Use of eminent domain also deepens the feelings of landowners and others “who feel the average person’s freedom and liberty doesn’t matter anymore and that big corporations with political connections and deep pockets can simply waltz in and confiscate someone’s land,” he said.
His sentiment is not shared by labor unions that see the potential for as many as 8,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline and an electric transmission line also targeted by eminent domain opponents.
“We find it a little unfortunate that the opponents of the Dakota access line are willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater considering this bill also directly targets a clean, renewable energy project,” said Richie Schmidt of the Laborers’ International Union Midwest region, referring to the proposed Rock Island Clean Line that would carry wind turbine-generated electricity from northwest Iowa to Illinois and run through the Quad-City region.
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