Letter to Landowners

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{This is the latest draft of a letter Ed is sharing with landowners and others he meets along the pipeline route.}

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dear Fellow Iowan,

As I’m sure you know, a Texas billionaire named Kelcy Warren wants to build an oil pipeline through Iowa. I am walking across Iowa following roads near the path of the proposed pipeline. As a state lawmaker for 14 years, I worked to toughen eminent domain laws to protect property owners when government and developers tried to take land for private gain. I also served on the House Environmental Protection Committee because I care deeply about Iowa’s land and water, and about our planet.

Warren is offering landowners a lot of money for an easement to their land. But it’s important that you and other landowners in the path of the pipeline know all the facts and the risks involved.

* Pipelines break. You may have heard about the big ones, like Yellowstone and Kalamazoo. But the full list of spills is incredible (See Wikipedia: “List of pipeline accidents in the United States in the 21st century”). It’s not a question of if Warren’s pipeline will break, it’s a question of when and where.

* When the pipeline does break, there isn’t enough money to clean-up even one spill. Warren’s company has pledged only $250,000 to clean-up efforts in Iowa. The Kalamazoo spill has cost almost $1 billion – and it’s not done yet. In Wisconsin, the pipeline company pledged $100 million for one county!

* Even if the pipeline doesn’t break on your land, it will still affect your property values. No one has ever seen the value of their land increase because an oil pipeline ran through it.

* You won’t be the only one affected if something goes wrong. Iowa’s water is important to us all.

There are many unanswered questions and potential problems. The pipeline company wants you to think this is a done deal, that you should just sell them an easement to your land. But the Iowa Utilities Board hasn’t even granted them a permit or the right of eminent domain. And there is a bipartisan bill in the Legislature that would, among other things, make it clear that a pipeline carrying oil from North Dakota to refineries in Texas (most of which will be exported) does not constitute a public benefit for Iowa.

As of today, I have walked about 150 miles across Iowa. I have spoken with over 100 people, and even some of those landowners who have signed contracts with the pipeline company do not want this to happen. Many signed a contract only because they felt they had no choice.

Well, you do have a choice. A pipeline through Iowa is not inevitable. There are many reasons why it may not happen – and many reasons why it should not happen. There are organizations, lawmakers and attorneys across the state who want you and other landowners to have all the information and the facts – not just what the pipeline representative tells you.

For your sake and for the sake of the many landowners who would be adversely affected by the pipeline, I ask you to carefully consider whether it’s worth a one-time cash payment, given the potential long-term damage to your property, your neighbors and Iowa’s land and waterways.

Thank you for reading this letter. I would be happy to talk with or meet with you or any of your neighbors. Here’s my cell phone number: 515-238-6404. And you also can reach me at fallonforum@gmail.com.

Sincerely,

Ed Fallon

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