Iowa Judge Dismisses Cherokee County Lawsuits Against Pipeline

June 14, 2016

Although the Iowa Utility Board voted 2-1 last week to allow Dakota Access to begin construction on Iowa land where the company has all the necessary permissions, landowners Marvin and Bonnie Zoch and Marian Johnson, who own land in Cherokee County in the path of the pipeline, filed lawsuits saying Dakota Access and the pipeline developer did not meet provisions under Iowa law to use eminent domain because Dakota Access is not a utility and the pipeline is not for public use or public improvement.

Dakota Access lawyers responded to the suits saying that the pipeline serves a public purpose and is a utility or company under the IUB's jurisdiction.

District Judge Nancy Whittenburg in Cherokee County, Iowa, dismissed both suits Monday, saying, " IUB had the authority to make such considerations and determinations and did so. Therefore, in order to challenge these determinations addressed in the final order, interested parties are required to seek judicial review."

The 1,168-mile Dakota Access pipeline is proposed to transport light, sweet crude oil from the North Dakota Bakken region through South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois. The pipeline owners says the construction project will create up to 12,000 jobs.

Dakota Access said in a recent news release that it has voluntary easement agreements with landowners for almost 96 percent of the land along the four-state route. In Iowa, agreements have been reached with 87 percent of landowners.

Work on the project is being delayed in Lyon County, where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has notified the Iowa Department of Natural Resources that it has revoked a construction permit for a segment of the pipeline over concerns that the pipeline route may disrupt ancient Indian tribal burial grounds.

Source: Sioux City Journal