Iowa CCI issues vote of “no confidence” in Iowa Utilities Board on Bakken Pipeline
IUB deliberations make it clear that there is no legal precedent for the proposal and Board should reject it to protect Iowans
Iowa CCI members called on the Iowa Utilities Board to reject the Bakken Pipeline and issued a vote of “no
confidence” in the state agency after four days of public deliberations in Des Moines. CCI members noted that there is no legal precedent for granting eminent domain for a project like the Bakken Pipeline, and that the Board members Geri Huser, Nicholas Wagner, and Libby Jacobs have neither the experience nor the expertise to make a decision in the best interest of Iowa’s soil, water, and communities.
“IUB staffers have been clear with the Board that there is no legal precedent to shape their decision,” said Ross Grooters, Iowa CCI member of Pleasant Hill. “Unfortunately the Board seems to be searching for reasons to approve the Bakken Pipeline.”
In addition to the lack of legal precedent to inform their decision, Iowa CCI members also noted that the Board members, including recently appointed Board chair Geri Huser, demonstrated incompetence and a lack of mastery of permitting issues throughout the four days of hearings.
“Geri Huser was asking the kind of questions that should make Iowans worried,” said Grooters. “She doesn’t understand the extent of IUB’s authority to make demands of Dakota Access, and is unaware of how IUB’s permitting relates to other state agencies like Iowa DNR and Army Corps of Engineers. If these are the kind of questions being asked this late in the permitting process, it’s clear the Board members aren’t equipped to make this decision.”
The lack of experience and lack of legal precedent both factor into Iowa CCI’s decision to issue a vote of “no confidence” in the Board to make a decision in the best interest of Iowans.
“Based on their performance, it’s clear that IUB is inexperienced and underqualified to handle a proposal of this magnitude,” said Cherie Mortice, Iowa CCI Board President from Des Moines. “It’s time for Iowans to call out this broken, undemocratic process – for that reason we are issuing a vote of “no confidence” in IUB Board Members and their ability to accurately represent the interest of Iowans in their decision.”
This vote comes on the heels of the 2015 vote of “no confidence” in the Board of Regents, another politically appointed board managed by Iowa’s Governor, Terry Branstad. CCI members noticed a general trend of the role of Branstad’s Boards in advancing his political agenda across the state.
“The role of IUB is to protect the interest of Iowans in state utility issues,” said Brenda Brink, CCI member of Huxley, Iowa. “Not rubber stamp corporate interests by doing the Governor’s bidding and further marginalizing the state of democracy in Iowa.”
While the Board is expected to rule on the case in a few weeks, Iowa CCI called on Governor Branstad to meet with Iowans to discuss the proposal and how the permitting process has worked against the best interest of everyday Iowans.
“We asked for a meeting with Governor Branstad on January 21st, and gave his office until February 8th to reply to our request,” said Nathan Malachowski, Iowa CCI member of Des Moines. “We have heard no response from his office other than recommending that we send our requests to IUB. Branstad must stop ignoring Iowans on the Bakken Pipeline.”
Having issued the vote of “no confidence” in IUB, Iowa CCI will continue to target the Governor with these requests.
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