Over the past two weeks, calls, emails and meetings with lawmakers have made a huge difference in the debate about SF 2235 / HF 2394 — the pipeline bill backed by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP). SF 2235 passed the Senate in February but HF 2394 has stalled in the House. Now some Senators who supported SF 2235 are having second thoughts. We’re making progress!
ETP hopes SF 2235 / HF 2394 will legitimize the Dakota Access Pipeline as “critical infrastructure” because, if the bill passes, ETP’s chances of defeating Iowa landowners in the lawsuit before the Iowa Supreme Court improve.
Even more far-reaching, the bill could open the door for future abuses of eminent domain for all kinds of private purposes. As a farmer along the pipeline route said to me in 2015, “If ETP can call itself a public utility because some of this oil finds its way into my gas tank, what’s to stop mall developers from using eminent domain because I might shop there someday?”
ACTION: Call, write, or visit your state representative and senator this weekend
Here are four key talking points:
1. Iowans don’t want this bill — 74% of all Iowans polled in 2015 opposed using eminent domain to build the Dakota Access Pipeline!
2. ETP wants this bill because landowners suing over the abuse of eminent domain have a strong case. Most Iowans agree that the Dakota Access Pipeline isn’t “critical infrastructure.” It’s not at all in the same category as lines carrying water, electricity and gas. We access those services directly and, when they fail, we notice immediately.
3. If ETP gets this bill passed and Iowa landowners lose their lawsuit, it throws open the doors for an even wider use of eminent domain in the future — not just for oil pipelines but for all kinds of private development.
4. The bill would potentially impose extreme penalties for non-violent protest protected under the First Amendment. It could turn minor offenses like trespassing and demonstrating into felonies.
Thanks for your help! Please share this request with others, and if you need to talk or want any other info, call Ed at 515-238-6404.