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Eminent Domain Restrictions Get Bipartisan Support at the Statehouse

Ray Bodden / Flickr

A bill that would restrict the use of eminent domain for the proposed Bakken Crude Oil Pipeline and the Rock Island Clean Wind Energy Transmission Line was advanced by Iowa House and Senate subcommittees last week.

The proposed bill would mandate private, out-of-state companies acquire 75% of the land needed for their projects voluntarily from land owners before gaining the right of eminent domain from the Iowa Utilities Board. Eminent domain is the government's right to appropriate private land for public use, with compensation.

Kaufmann is adamant that, though some feel the bill is about these two lines particularly, the crux of the issue is larger than that.

“I think what this bill does—it’s not about wind, it’s not about oil. It’s about property rights,” he said. 

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer discusses the eminent domain bill and its possible effects with State Representative Bobby Kaufmann and State Senator Julian Garrett. Beth Conley, Iowa Manager of the Rock Island Clean Line, Don Stursma, Safety and Engineering Section Manager at the Iowa Utilities Board, and Carolyn Sheridan, the board president of the Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance, also join the conversation.