Citing concerns about expected use of eminent domain in the development of the project, two Iowa state legislators, Democratic Senator Rob Hogg and Republican Representative Bobby Kaufmann, reached across the aisle to join together and call on Congress to oppose the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
On the national level, climate concerns have dominated the conversation about the pipeline and support or opposition to the project is mostly drawn along party lines. But on the local level, the debate is not about politics, but about whether or not a private, foreign corporation like TransCanada should have the right to force American landowners to give up their land for the pipeline.
This battle has raged on for years, and landowners had a recent victory in Nebraska, where a District Court judge ruled that a law granting Governor Dave Heineman and TransCanada power of eminent domain was unconstitutional, a ruling which also included a permanent injunction preventing Heineman from further advancing the pipeline, leaving TransCanada with no approved route through Nebraska.
Now, as legislators in states like Iowa have watched this battle play out, concerns are growing about whether their own landowners will fall victim to the same bullying tactics TransCanada employed in Nebraska.
“I urge you to stand with those land-owners who do not want this pipeline running through their property,” wrote Rep. Kaufmann in a letter to Congressman Dave Loebsack. “The interests in oil profits should not supersede the rights of property owners.”
“It is not in America’s national interests to allow a foreign oil company to condemn American farms and ranches to take foreign oil to the Gulf Coast for sale on the global market,” wrote Sen. Hogg in a letter to Congressman Bruce Braley. “The Keystone pipeline threatens America’s land, water, and wildlife – Congress should say no, the State Department should say no, and President Obama should say no.”
Senator Hogg and Representative Kaufmann’s letters were also submitted to the U.S. State Department in advance of the March 7 deadline for public comments on the Environmental Impact Statement on the proposal. The public can submit comments at the following web address: http://www.keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov/