Judge Dismisses Cherokee County Lawsuits Challenging Oil Pipeline

Two lawsuits aimed at stopping an oil pipeline company from exercising eminent domain to obtain private land along the pipeline route were dismissed Monday.

Tue June 14, 2016 - Midwest Edition
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Two lawsuits aimed at stopping an oil pipeline company from exercising eminent domain to obtain private land along the pipeline route were dismissed Monday.
Two lawsuits aimed at stopping an oil pipeline company from exercising eminent domain to obtain private land along the pipeline route were dismissed Monday.

The Sioux City Journal is reporting that two lawsuits aimed at stopping an oil pipeline company from exercising eminent domain to obtain private land along the pipeline route were dismissed Monday, the same day hearings to determine the value of the land being sought began.

District Judge Nancy Whittenburg ruled that the landowners who filed the lawsuits do not have the right to challenge Dakota Access' exercise of eminent domain and instead must seek a legal challenge to the Iowa Utility Board's final order to grant the company a permit to build the pipeline.

"... 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 ...," Whittenburg said in her 25-page ruling, filed in Cherokee County District Court.

Last month, landowners Marvin and Bonnie Zoch and Marian Johnson, who own land in Cherokee County in the path of the pipeline, filed suits saying that 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 that the pipeline serves a public purpose and is a utility or company under the IUB's jurisdiction.

Whittenburg said the IUB's final order determined that Dakota Access met those requirements to exercise eminent domain.

Source: The Sioux City Journal




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