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New oil pipeline through Iowa is raising questions from landowners

AMES and DES MOINES, Iowa – The crude oil pipeline proposed by the Dakota Access LLC arm of Dallas-based company Energy Transfer would stretch from Lyon county in northwest Iowa, to Lee county in southeast Iowa, with the goal of transporting oil from North Dakota to Illinois.

Concerned landowners have united under the newly minted Iowa Farmland Owners Association; founding member Leonard Larson is a family farmer with land about ten minutes south of Ames. He’s no stranger to having progress march right across his farm.

“The interstate has come through and taken part of my farm,” Larson explains. “In the ’40s I had one high-voltage transmission come through the farm. Probably around 20 or 30 years ago, I had a natural gas line come through our farm, and also in the last four or five year, I had another high-voltage transmission line come through our farms.”

But Larson says each of those developments benefitted someone in Iowa, which he doesn’t think is the case with the Dakota Access line. One of Larson’s, and IFOA’s, biggest concerns is whether or not the state will employ its power of eminent domain.

“Eminent domain was basically meant to bring electricity out to the rural sectors,” says Larson, “[and] to bring telephone out to the rural sectors. This is a for-profit company trying to make extra profit. If the government would allow, or gives them the O.K. for eminent domain, that means the government is actually trying to push to help commerce, commerical items, and stepping on individual, private owners.

As the legislative session begins in Des Moines, Larson hopes the legislature will provide more answers, especially as they relate to how large of a bond pipelines need to guard against possible leaks or spills.

The Iowa leg of the Dakota Access pipeline will cost just over $1 billion, and stretch about 350 miles. The entire pipeline would extend beyond 1,100 miles with a pricetag just under $4 billion dollars.

To hear more about the Dakota Access pipeline and the concerns of Iowa landowners, click the audio story above this link.