Governor Branstad says he will not intervene in the controversial Bakken Pipeline project which is under consideration by the Iowa Utilities Board.
And he is downplaying landowners concerns.
Dakota Access wants to crisscross the state with a pipeline to transport crude oil from North Dakota.
Some landowners have not granted permission. But Branstad argues the company won’t be taking their land.
“Many people don’t want to see it go through their land and I understand that,” Branstad says. “But there are many pipelines in our state and farmers farm over it and it’s worked for them.”
Critics worry about contamination from leaking oil.
Branstad says responsibility for the decision rests with the Utilities Board and he will not intervene.
“I’ve heard from personal friends who are landowners that have strong feelings about this,” Branstad says. “I have said we should not be involved in making a political decision.”
Some landowners object to the forceful taking of their land, what’s known as eminent domain, for a private purpose, namely, a for-profit company’s project.
The Iowa Utilities Board will begin hearings next week and promises a decision by the end of the year.
Branstad says the legislature gave the Utilities Board the authority to rule in controversial cases.
Critics have filed hundreds of objections. The Board predicts they will make a decision by December or January.