Today I babysat my two grandchildren, a 2 year old and a 4 year old. Although those two beautiful children ran me ragged physically, it gave me plenty of time to use my mind to ponder a current event.
If you have followed my blog for any length of time you know I am an independent voter. On the national level I always hope for an independent that can capture the American public’s attention, and so far I am always disappointed. On the state level it seems that my vote usually goes to the Republican candidate, and normally on the local level the vote goes to the Democrat.
Right now, we have the longest serving governor in America as our governor. Yet, due to a current event, I now know I can no longer support him and his administration.
Earlier this year a private company went to the, with the governor’s blessing, Iowa Utilities Board, whose mission is: “Regulates utilities to ensure that reasonably priced, reliable, and safe utility services are available to all Iowans, supporting economic growth and opportunity.” Taken directly from their site: http://www.iub.iowa.gov. No where does it say “To assist private companies rape landowners.” This private company asked the board to give it the power to use eminent domain to get land from farmers who wanted nothing to do with this company.
This forced me to think about the definition of eminent domain. According to http://www.law.cornell.edu, the definition is: “The power of the government to take private property and convert it into public use. The Fifth Amendment provides that the government may only exercise this power if they provide just compensation to the property owners.”
But the Iowa Utilities Board, who voted to grant eminent domain, gave the power to use this eminent domain to a private company for the sole benefit of that private company and it in no way ensures Iowans the availability of reasonably priced, reliable, and safe utility services. Nor does it support any economic growth and opportunity for Iowans. In fact, this company will only create a total of 40 permanent jobs.
This private business, who was given the power of eminent domain, for their own benefit is the Energy Transfer Partners, LP out of Dallas, Texas and building a privately owned pipeline from the Bakken Oil Fields in North Dakota, through South Dakota and Iowa, to a refinery in Illinois. Due to the Iowa Utilities Board overstepping it’s self proclaimed mission and unlawfully giving eminent domain rights to a private company to gain access to 18% of land owners who want nothing to do with this plan, the project goes forward.
Recently, Native American tribes have filed suit, attesting that this pipeline will disrupt their sacred burial grounds. The 18% of land owners who had land unlawfully taken also filed a suit to stop the illegal actions of the board, but Energy Transfer Partners claimed that if they were held up until the suit was cleared it would cost them millions of dollars. Once again the board overstepped its bounds and granted them the ability to continue.
I hope and pray that somehow this project is forced to go around the farms that were illegally affected.
That is my 2¢ worth.