Branstad Owes Iowa Answers on Pipeline

May 19, 2015FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ed Fallon, 515.238.6404, fallonforum@gmail.com

Iowans Deserve Answers From Branstad on Pipeline Legislation, Fallon Says

A day after being arrested for sit-in protest, former Iowa lawmaker encourages Iowans to engage in their own principled acts of conscience to protect air, land, water and people

Des Moines, Iowa —

Ed Fallon is out of jail after he was arrested last night during a sit-in protest at Governor Branstad’s office, and the former state representative says the Governor still owes Iowans an explanation about his position on pending eminent domain legislation at the Statehouse.

“By continuing to remain silent, Governor Branstad gives the perception that he approves of an out-of-state Big Oil corporation using his administration to condemn private farmland,” Fallon said.

At the beginning of this year’s legislative session, Branstad warned lawmakers not to interfere with the Iowa Utilities Board permitting process. But grassroots pressure from farmers, environmentalists and others have forced some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to buck Big Oil and Big Labor interests to draft and debate legislation that could place additional restrictions on eminent domain powers for the project.

Fallon’s first public remarks after his civil disobedience arrest yesterday also included a call to action for all Iowans to take principled acts of conscience and vigil, rally, demonstrate, sit-in, lobby and speak-out to stop the Bakken oil pipeline.

“During my walk across Iowa this year, I was inspired by the courage shown by family farmers fighting this pipeline and I sincerely believe that now is the time for all Iowans to take principled action to stop the pipeline,” Fallon said.

Fallon is due to appear in court on Wednesday, May 27 at 1pm.

“I’m exploring my options and haven’t made a decision about what legal route to take yet,” Fallon said. Iowa trespass law contains a necessity exemption, and the looming climate-change crisis and pending eminent domain legislation in the waning days of the 2015 legislative session could form the basis for a necessity defense.

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Fallon Sits-in at Governor’s Office to Stop Bakken Pipeline

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1:30 p.m. Monday,  May 18, 2015 — Governor’s Office, Des Moines, Iowa

For more information, contact:
Ed Fallon at (515) 238-6404 or
David Goodner at (515) 446-0134

Fallon Sits-in at Governor’s Office to Stop Bakken Pipeline

Former lawmaker will stay at the Governor’s office until
Governor meets with him, agrees to support eminent domain bill

Today at 1:30 p.m. CDT, former Iowa lawmaker Ed Fallon entered Governor Branstad’s office at the Iowa State Capitol and asked to speak with the Governor regarding the eminent domain legislation that would help landowners along the path of the Bakken Oil Pipeline. Fallon informed the Governor’s staff that he would refuse to leave the office until Governor Branstad met with him in person or on the phone and agreed to help pass the bill.

“Historically, the Governor and I have supported strengthening Iowa’s eminent domain law to protect private property from private, for-profit development,” said Fallon as he sat waiting to speak with Branstad in the Governor’s office. “We also have both been critical of Big Oil, who the Governor has rightfully criticized for trying to weaken Iowa’s pioneering efforts in ethanol and biodiesel.”

Last month, Fallon completed a 400-mile walk across Iowa, following the path of the proposed pipeline and meeting with landowners. Every day of the 40-day walk, he blogged about the experience and shared stories of the people he met along the way.

“The Governor needs to hear the stories of some of the hundreds of Iowa landowners who are adamantly opposed to having their land taken for this pipeline,” continued Fallon. “I believe that when their voices have a chance to touch his heart, he will agree to help move the eminent domain bill forward in the final days of this year’s legislative session.”

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Courage

Dear Friends,

There’s nothing like courage to inspire principled acts of conscience. Perhaps the gutsy actions last week of two landowners fighting to stop the pipeline has inspired you to step forward, speak out, take action. I can assure you that Hughie Tweedy and Vern Johnson have further deepened my own commitment to stopping the Bakken Oil Pipeline. (Stay tuned for news about that later today.)

It took a lot of guts for Hughie Tweedy to go public about the conversations he recorded with a representative of the pipeline company. In interviews that have been published in media across the country and in Canada on CBC Radio, Hughie recounts how in exchange for his land, the rep “offered me women . . . not once, not twice, but three times. In the third time, a $1,200 teenage prostitute.”

Hughie’s life has been taken over with an endless string of media inquiries. He’s even had to learn to use Facebook and a cell phone! Hughie poked the giant — and a poked giant is likely to poke back. News that Dakota Access offered prostitutes for access to land is really, really bad public relations for the company. Add this to all the other stories circulating about pipeline representatives lying and bullying, and more and more Iowans are realizing that Dakota Access is a company that can’t be trusted.

Or in the more blunt words of Hughie, “This bunch from the pipeline cartel — what I call ’em — is just a bucket of snakes and you can’t tell which head belongs to which tail. Their damage control will be all deniability. They’ll say, well, that’s not our contractor . . . that’s not our this, not our that.”

Another courageous landowner is Vern Johnson, a quiet guy and polite to a fault. Vern also is persistent to the point of having said “no” forty times to pipeline representatives wanting access to his land.

“I saw that most of them were from Louisiana,” said Vern, who caught surveyors placing stakes on his property. Without a hint of anger or malice, Vern “offered to go down to Louisiana and drive a steel post into their land. Well, after they thought about that a bit, they came back and said they’d just pull out all the stakes they’d put on my land.”

One of the surveyors told Vern they were going to follow an existing pipeline easement on his property. “The only problem with that,” says Vern, “is I don’t have an easement for another pipeline on my property.” He even went to the county courthouse to verify that such was the case — another example of Dakota Access not being trustworthy.

Unfortunately, the pipeline company got its way. Vern was slapped with an injunction that allowed the surveyors to force themselves onto his land. Despite his gutsy persistence, Vern lost that battle.

And we may lose other battles. But we can and will win the war. Nebraskans have stopped the Keystone Pipeline. And it was just a couple years ago that a coalition of Iowa seniors, landowners and environmentalists stopped a nuclear power plant that would have been built with millions of dollars of rate-payer money. A few years earlier, we stopped two ill-conceived coal-fired power plants. A decade ago, I worked with landowners in several counties who banded together to stop their land from being taken for recreational lakes and essentially private airports.

Over and over again, when we stand strong and stand together, people can prevail against corporate and government power. I believe that will be the case with this pipeline – but it will take commitment, sacrifice and courage. I am willing to continue to push my own comfort zone in that regard (again, stay tuned for news on that later today), and I ask each of you to ponder what more you can do as well.

And please take a moment to call or write your state senator and ask him or her to support SF 506, the eminent domain bill now eligible for debate by the full Senate. Please call or write your state representative as well. And if you are not certain who represents you at the statehouse, go to find your legislator.

Listen to the Fallon Forum live Mondays from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) and online. Podcasts available after the show. Your input is welcome; simply call-in at (515) 528-8122. The program re-broadcasts Wednesdays on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. and on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 p.m.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

An astounding news tip

Dear Friends,

This weekend, I received an astounding news tip relevant to the proposed Bakken crude oil pipeline. It was shared with me in confidence, but I can tell you that it literally made my jaw drop!

This breaking story has the potential to completely change the conversation about the pipeline. I’m sorry I can’t tell you more (if a source requests confidentiality, I respect that), but I’ll be able to share full details with you later this morning (Monday, May 11th) on my talk show at 11:00 a.m. on KDLF 1260 AM in Des Moines and online. The actual person breaking the news will join me in the studio. Please tune-in if you are able.

Other topics on today’s Fallon Forum:

(1) Taylor Brorby talks about the fracking/pipeline link.

(2) We discuss the latest problems confronting a foreign-owned fertilizer plant that received over half-a-billion dollars in public money to employ a mere 240 people.

(3) We look at the federal court of appeals ruling last week regarding cell phone spying – a ruling that might encourage Congress to revisit the so-called Patriot Act.

(4) For something a little different, we talk with Dr. Kevin Moore about the growing enthusiasm for investing in gold.

(5) In this week’s edition of Caucus Buzz, we consider the suggestion that some are offering: Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina is the perfect opponent for Hillary Clinton, who appears to be the Democratic establishment’s candidate of choice.

Listen to the Fallon Forum live Mondays from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) and online. Podcasts available after the show. Your input is welcome; simply call-in at (515) 528-8122. The program re-broadcasts Wednesdays on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. and on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 p.m.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

Call Out the Guard!

Dear Friends,

Even as Maryland was calling out the National Guard to deal with havoc in the streets of Baltimore, Iowa was calling out the Guard to deal with havoc in poultry confinements. Perhaps that’s a meaningless coincidence, but it did catch my attention. Regardless, there’s lots to discuss about both these issues on my talk show today (see below).

Before I tell you about that, please set aside some time today or tomorrow to encourage lawmakers to support bills toughening Iowa’s eminent domain law (SSB 1276 and HSB 249). Last week, both bills passed out of sub-committees of the House and Senate Government Oversight Committees.

Call or write members of both the House and Senate Government Oversight Committees. Go to the two links below, then click on the individual lawmaker’s name and you’ll see a phone number and email address:

House Government Oversight Committee

Senate Government Oversight Committee

It’s important to keep your call or email message short and to the point. Share your own personal story and perspective, and tell lawmakers to stand up for farmers and landowners in the path of the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline. Tell them to vote to protect our environment. Tell them to support the strongest possible eminent domain law and move the bill forward for the full House and Senate to debate.

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Ok, on today’s Fallon Forum, we’ll discuss:

– The bird flu that continues to rage through poultry confinements as American taxpayers pick-up much of the tab. Some people are asking the question, “Why is the epidemic not afflicting backyard flocks?”

– After the riots, racial tension, and Maryland Attorney General’s ruling in Baltimore, what does it all mean to us here in Iowa?

– Wind energy is set to take off again with another huge MidAmerican Energy expansion. Good news, mostly. But is the continued dominance in wind production of one utility monopoly shutting the door on entrepreneurs and distributed generation?

– Caucus Buzz: With Bernie Sanders in the race for President, maybe Democrats have the beginnings of the kind of spirited nomination Republicans are seeing.

– What does it mean for the broader chain restaurant industry now that Chipotle and Tyson are responding to consumer demand and phasing out GMOs and antibiotics in meat?

Listen to the Fallon Forum live Mondays from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) and online. Podcasts available after the show. Your input is welcome; simply call-in at (515) 528-8122. The program re-broadcasts Wednesdays on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. and on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 p.m.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

URGENT PIPELINE UPDATE!

Dear Friends –

I spoke with State Rep. Bobby Kaufmann today on my talk show and he announced big news on the Eminent Domain Bill:

Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 28th at 12:00 noon in Room 22 of the Iowa State Capitol, a joint House-Senate sub-committee will meet to debate and possibly vote on SSB 1276!

There are three things you can do:

1. COME!! Sub-committee meetings provide one of the few opportunities for average Iowans to speak on and influence legislation directly. I will be there and would love to have a slew of pipeline fighters join me.

2. Share this message and the Facebook Event invite with as many people as possible.

3. Write or call sub-committee members. If you write, carbon copy your own Representative and Senator. To figure out who your Representative and Senator are, and get contact information for them, click Find Your Legislator.

Sub-committee members are:
– Senator Rob Hogg – rob.hogg@legis.iowa.gov or (515) 281-3371
– Senator Julian Garrett – julian.garrett@legis.iowa.gov or (515) 281-3371
– Senator Brian Schoenjahn – brian.schoenjahn@legis.iowa.gov or (515) 281-3371
– Representative Bobby Kaufmann – bobby.kaufmann@legis.iowa.gov or (515) 281-3221
– Representative Greg Heartsill – greg.heartsill@legis.iowa.gov or (515) 281-3221
– Representative Mary Wolfe – mary.wolfe@legis.iowa.gov or (515) 281-3221

My take is this: The bill needs to be simple and straightforward. All we are saying is that a private, for-profit business that does not provide a public service to Iowans should not be granted the power of eminent domain. My concern is that there is pressure from Big Oil’s friends at the Statehouse to craft a compromise that will weaken this core position.

The bottom line is this: We want the strongest possible bill to come out of sub-committee, as it becomes more difficult to strengthen it later.

Thank you! This is a pivotal moment, and I hope you can take a little time today and tomorrow morning to do what you can. And if at all possible, come to the State Capitol tomorrow at 12:00 noon!

Ed Fallon

Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 40 (Earth Day)

EARTH DAY: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 – Inwood, Iowa

Today’s weather is a carbon copy of the first day of the walk – 7 1/2 weeks ago. The temperature is in the mid 20s. There is no wind. The sky is mostly clear. I am wearing gloves, a hat and a scarf.

I set out from Crazy Bob’s in Inwood at 6:41 – my earliest start yet. The sun rises behind me in the east, gradually shortening the lanky, stick-touting silhouette that continues to lead me westward.

Gate entering final mile of walk

Open gate as I enter the final mile

As I near the Big Sioux River and Iowa’s western edge, the land rolls with greater texture and determination. Pastureland replaces crop ground and feedlots. For me, the walker, it is a welcome change of pace from previous days, where endless flat fields and high winds ruled. Another side of me, the lover of fertile soil and renewable energy, remains grateful for the rich, flat fields and brisk, turbine-turning breezes that I now leave behind.

I am regrettably in a rush today, as the 7.5-mile walk will be followed by a 5-hour drive and a much-anticipated rally at the State Capitol in Des Moines. I feel badly that I must scurry past the wooded hills and public lands that beckon one to explore and to dream. I also pass up an invitation to visit over coffee at the home of one of the landowners. I promise to come back, and ask for a rain check on her kind offer.

I come to the end of the last gravel road before the River. My final mile is across property owned by Roger Monen. Roger has given me permission to walk his land and will meet me at the point where the pipeline would cross into Iowa from South Dakota.

Throughout these past 7 1/2 weeks, farmers and landowners have opened their homes and hearts to me. Today, Roger opens his gate, and it seems like a fitting symbolic tribute to the kindness and hospitality I have experienced every day of this walk.

The final mile through fields and woods is beautiful, idyllic, perfect in every way. My haste is the only downside to the moment.

Pipeline workers drilling for a core sample, although no easement has been signed

Pipeline workers drilling for a core sample, although no easement has been signed

Well, there is one more downside. At no point in the walk have I encountered a pipeline employee. To my great surprise, there at the very last point of my walk, on a bluff where the pipeline would cross the Big Sioux into Iowa, there are three pipeline workers drilling deep into the ground for a core sample. The sight is jarring: heavy equipment, the front edge of the pipeline’s assault, descended there like an alien vessel landed in the midst of pastoral hills and fields. I snap a picture, and later kick myself for not talking with the workers. Was their work merely a job? Were they concerned about the impact on landowners, others, the Earth? If their home was in the pipeline’s path, how would they feel?

Where the pipeline would cross the Big Sioux River from South Dakota

Where the pipeline would cross the Big Sioux River from South Dakota

I regretted not starting my walk an hour earlier. I will have to return. But I probably blew my best chance to talk with pipeline workers. I remind myself that although it is important when addressing a crisis to move with purpose and determination, it is also important to move calmly, to leave time to both smell the roses and study the thorns.

But for now, I rush on at 3.5 miles MPH. I snap one last photo of where the pipeline would cross the River, then hop into Roger’s car for the ride back to Inwood. In less than an hour, I will be hurtling back to Des Moines at 65-70 MPH, hoping that my old Subaru – now sporting 251,000 miles – will go the distance.

Earth Day Rally to Stop the Pipeline

Earth Day Rally to Stop the Pipeline

I arrive in time for the Earth Day Rally to Stop the Pipeline. My heart is warmed that so many people have showed up on what has become another cool, blustery day. It is a deeply satisfying conclusion to a difficult but rewarding experience. See below for video highlights courtesy of Rodger Routh.

When I first conceived the walk, I thought of it as my sole contribution to the movement to stop the Bakken pipeline. But after bonding with so many good people, after intimately experiencing the land that would be destroyed, after further contemplating the impact on our environment (570,000 barrels of oil a day releasing the carbon equivalent of 16 coal-fired power plants, as State Sen. Rob Hogg reminds us) I have developed a profound sense of obligation to do everything I can to stop the pipeline.

I’ll talk more about that in next week’s post, and during today’s broadcast of the Fallon Forum: Monday, April 27,11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon, live on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) and online. (A podcast is available later today.) Your input is welcome, too: Call-in at (515) 528-8122. The program will re-broadcast Wednesday on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. and KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 p.m.

Again, thank you to everyone who made this walk possible. I promise to continue my commitment to fight for you and for so much else that is precious! – Ed Fallon

Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 39

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 – Doon, Iowa
{REMINDER!!: Celebrate the completion of the Iowa Pipeline Walk with an Earth Day Rally to Stop the Pipeline, TODAY, Wednesday, April 22 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. at Locust and E. 7th in Des Moines.}
Recovering over an excellent dinner at Crazy Bob's in Inwood

Recovering over an excellent dinner at Crazy Bob’s in Inwood

I have always been optimistic about our prospects for stopping the Bakken Oil Pipeline. Today, thanks to the work of one Nebraskan pipeline fighter, my optimism deepened still further.

Jane Kleeb with Bold Nebraska has helped lead the charge against the Keystone Pipeline in her state. Though Jane is beyond busy, she spent an entire day in northwest Iowa, walking 9.2 miles with me to Inwood, talking with folks along the way, and joining me in an interview with KDLT TV out of Sioux Falls this evening.

Between farmsteads, Jane and I had plenty of time to talk as we battled our way through another blustery day. I shared with her concerns raised by landowners and farmers, many who feel hopeless against the power and money of Dakota Access.

She explained that, in Nebraska, efforts to stop the Keystone Pipeline didn’t start in earnest until two years after TransCanada (the company that wanted to build Keystone) had been working aggressively to convince landowners to sign easements. By the time Jane and Bold Nebraska got involved, 50% had already signed.

At a commercial greenhouse on the route through Lyon County

At a commercial greenhouse on the route through Lyon County

Jane and others got to work and organized a solid coalition of farmers, ranchers, Native Americans and environmentalists. They held meetings, compiled research, lobbied government officials, and educated the public and the media. They also engaged in creative, catchy actions that caught national attention. Two brilliant examples: Building a solar-powered barn in the path of the pipeline and assembling the Cowboy-Indian Alliance.

Bold Nebraska has been able to hold Keystone at bay with just 10% of landowners refusing to sell to TransCanada. In Iowa, by comparison, the best estimate is that 75% of landowners have yet to sell an easement to the company!

In other words, we are comparatively well-positioned to stop Dakota Access.

I ask Jane what she would say to people who still feel we can’t stop the pipeline. She says, “You can stop any pipeline, unless its already in the ground. But you need a solid farmer-landowner group. That has to get started, both to develop a sense of community and to better reach out to the press. All voices are important, but landowners are the backbone of the movement.”

With one day to go on this 400-mile walk, that’s my conclusion as well. This is a fight that must center around landowners. They are the lead roles in this pipeline drama. The rest of us must do our best to be a strong cast of supporting actors.

Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 38

Monday, April 20, 2015 – Hull, Iowa

{Celebrate the completion of the Iowa Pipeline Walk with an Earth Day Rally to Stop the Pipeline, Wednesday, April 22 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. at Locust and E. 7th in Des Moines. For the latest route and schedule detail, click here.}

Only 30 miles to go and three days to do it,” I thought. “Piece of cake.”

But the elements have something other than cake in mind. During the entire 13.4-mile walk, the wind roars straight at me out of the northwest. A sustained velocity of 25 – 35 miles per hour is punctuated with gusts up to 45. The wind is determined to humble me, reducing my usual brisk pace to a relative crawl. A distance that normally would take less than five hours today takes seven. I watch the sun set over South Dakota and finish the day under a thin crescent moon.

Pipeline marker at CRP land

Pipeline marker at CRP land

Walking into a strong headwind is akin to walking into an invisible wall. The wind pushes back as I push forward, and my walking stick must be employed to its fullest. Every four steps, I roll it forward in my palm, plant it firmly in front of me, and dig the tip into the gravel. I push so hard my arms get as much of a workout as my legs.

The temperature maxes out around 50 degrees today. At first, the wind chills my ears and hands, and I regret not bringing my winter gloves and hat. But after a couple miles, I am working so hard that hat and gloves would have been unnecessary.

Three miles into the day, I stop at a farm, as much to get out of the wind for a bit as to talk with the farmer. He is about my age, and hasn’t thought much about the pipeline. His thoughts are filled with the complexities of modern farming. His hands are covered with grease, much as a farmer’s hands 100 years ago would have been covered with soil. I prepare to head back into the wind and he says, “You must be pretty dedicated.”

“Well, I’m pretty determined,” I reply. “This pipeline is the worst thing to happen to Iowa in my lifetime, and I’m committed to doing everything I can to stop it.”

I think about dedication and determination as I walk, wind pounding away at my head and ears. I wonder if Kelcy Warren, the billionaire who owns Dakota Access, is also a dedicated, determined man. He certainly is pulling out all the stops in his determination to build a pipeline. But I wonder what kind of moral compass he has? Does he even have a moral compass? If he did, how could he justify taking people’s land against their will merely to become even richer? Does he care about the water, the land, the planet? Or is his sole dedication to money, power and oil?

Clearly, Kelcy Warren and I need to sit down over a beer. Before my windblown mind can craft that fantasy, I mercifully find myself walking through a farm composed of enough buildings to compare in size with many of the small towns I pass. There are six to seven hog confinements framing the road on either side. Even in an agricultural world that has grown industrial in scale, this farm is a giant.

Suddenly, out of the middle of these buildings, a lone white dove flies across the road in front of me. It is the first white dove I have seen since setting out from the Mississippi River over seven weeks ago.

I watch the bird. I smile, and a song comes to mind. I sing the chorus loudly as I walk through this surreal industrial farm-city:

Una paloma blanca,
I’m just a bird in the sky.
Una paloma blanca,
Over the mountains I fly,
No one can take my freedom away.

I think about freedom, and all the farmers and landowners I’ve met who are fighting for their land, fighting to keep Kelcy Warren from tearing apart their soil, their dreams, their livelihoods. These farmers are willing to do whatever it takes to preserve their freedom. They have become my heroes. Perhaps I set out to inspire them to do the right thing, but they have become my inspiration.

Soon, I will be done walking. But I will not be done fighting. Freedom, and all that comes with it, is too important to give up on. For me, and for many others, this pipeline fight has become emblematic of the struggle to preserve not just our environment but our very freedom and liberty.

Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 37

Friday, April 17, 2015 – Newkirk, Iowa

{Tune-in Monday, April 20 to hear the latest developments about the Iowa Pipeline Walk on the Fallon Forum at 11:00 a.m. on KDLF 1260 AM La Reina (Des Moines) and online. State Rep. Dan Kelley hosts the program and is joined by Gary Harms, Director of Iowa Special Olympics, and Gary Steinke, a Special Olympics parent and activist.}

Dakota Access is growing more and more aggressive, playing hardball with landowners who do not want the company coming on their land to survey for a pipeline.

And landowners are fighting back.

Randy Sieren, who farms in Keokuk County, called me today saying he found four surveyors trespassing yesterday. “I just caught them out in the field,” said Randy. “I told them they didn’t have any permission from me to be there, so they’d better hit the road.”

They left, but a pipeline staffer went to Randy’s home. “He told my wife they’d be back in the morning, and they didn’t want any confrontation. Well, to make sure there was no confrontation, I had the Keokuk County Sheriff stop by.”

“The following morning, they showed up again but never had a chance to get out of the car,” explained Randy. “They argued that the certified letter sent to me was all they needed. The Sheriff said it wasn’t, and told them to leave.”

Surveyors have yet to force their way onto Weslie & Teresa Phipps’ farm. Perhaps that’s because Weslie is the farmer who told the pipeline official, “They’d have to carry me out in a pine box before I’d let any oil pipeline people on my property.”

Weslie raises an excellent point: “I question the jurisdiction of the Iowa Utilities Board over an interstate oil pipeline of a private company. They are not a utility. The power of eminent domain was not given for private use. Any and all powers not delegated to government by the people remain with the people. Our rights are simply not for sale.”

A woman wrote to me, saying, “I totally understand the message about the aggressive and nasty reps of the pipeline company. Tell people to keep resisting, even if it means not being polite and nice, because the company reps don’t understand polite. They also don’t understand ‘no.’  I, too, received their packet and an offer. Mine came by mail because I wouldn’t let them come to my home when they called. I still get a call about once a week telling me they will be on my property to do some surveying and I say not by a long shot, stay off private property. (Sometimes my language might get a little more harsh, shall we say.)”

The woman went on to tell me, “One example of how nasty these people are was when they went into a nursing home and harassed an older lady to let them survey. The staff had to ask them to leave! True to form for ‘big oil’ and their money.”

Wow! I am hearing more and more such stories. All I can say to landowners is, stand strong – and to the rest of us, let’s continue to show our support for them.

Want one more example of why that’s important? On my Facebook page, one of my friends, Deborah Marlin, shared a news clip of my walk. Kim Luetkeman responded: “I don’t know you but thank you for sharing this. My family’s century farm is being affected by the pipeline. All the support we can get is greatly appreciated. It seriously means so much to have complete strangers help in our fight. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. We aren’t about to give in and will fight for this as long as it takes.

{Celebrate the completion of the Iowa Pipeline Walk with an Earth Day Rally to Stop the Pipeline, Wednesday, April 22 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. at Locust and E. 7th in Des Moines. For the latest route and schedule detail, click here.}