Political Action to Stop the Bakken Oil Pipeline

Tuesday, June 2, 2015, 10:30 a.m., Iowa State Capitol
Statement from Ed Fallon re:
Political Action to Stop the Bakken Oil Pipeline

The vast majority of Iowans overwhelmingly oppose letting a private corporation condemn farmland for an oil pipeline. Yet the Legislature’s leadership – both Republican and Democrat – refuses to bring up the eminent domain bill for a vote.

Thousands of Iowans have spoken out against the pipeline and in support of SF 506 and HSB 249. We have written our lawmakers, the Governor, the Iowa Utilities Board and our local newspapers. We have spoken out at public forums. Landowners have gone so far as to record conversations with pipeline representatives, called their county sheriff to prevent pipeline workers from trespassing on their property, hired attorneys, and many more actions that are courageous and commendable.

For my part, I walked 400 miles across Iowa along the path of the proposed pipeline and was arrested for refusing to leave Governor Branstad’s office. I am passionately committed to stopping this pipeline. As I considered what else could be done, I realized that our trump card is to hit the political leadership at the Iowa Statehouse on the two things they pay most attention to: money and votes.

So, today, I firmly commit myself to an action that will be more challenging and more time-consuming than walking across Iowa or getting arrested. Today, I commit myself to organizing landowners and other pipeline opponents to help defeat one or two Democratic Senators and one or two Republican Representatives who are opposed to the eminent domain bill.

The goal is to raise $25,000 for the opponent of each targeted incumbent and to train and organize 100 volunteers to knock on doors, make phone calls, and speak to small groups. We’ll put together a grassroots army of pipeline fighters. Iowa’s political establishment should take this effort very seriously, as defeating one or two incumbents could well change the balance of power at the Statehouse.

I am in a credible position to help lead this effort. When I ran for Governor and Congress, I raised half-a-million dollars in each campaign. Over the past three decades, I have helped organize literally thousands of volunteers on political and issue campaigns. And I don’t back down from a fight.

There is one caveat: If the House passes the bill, we won’t work to defeat one or two majority Republicans. Similarly, if the Senate passes the bill, we won’t work to defeat one or two majority Democrats. My sincere hope is that both chambers pass the bill and send it to the Governor. If the Governor signs it, great! If he vetoes it, then let this be the second time in the past decade that the Legislature overrode a governor’s veto on an eminent domain bill.

The proposed pipeline is wrong for so many reasons. It further exacerbates the climate crisis. It will cause great harm to Iowa’s waterways when it breaks – not if, but when. It further consolidates the unholy alliance of Big Oil and Big Government. And it sows despair among the many rural landowners and their urban allies who feel that the average person’s freedom and liberty doesn’t matter anymore and that big corporations with political connections and deep pockets can simply waltz-in and confiscate someone’s land.

One thing is more powerful than Big Oil and Big Government, and that is passionate people who are organized, unafraid, armed with truth, and willing to fight for freedom, liberty and justice.

Time for “trump card” on eminent domain bill

Dear Friends,

With the legislative session likely to end this week and the eminent domain bill languishing, it’s time to pull out all the stops. I ask you to do three things:

(1) Call or write your state senator to ask Senate leadership to bring up SF 506 for debate NOW! Similarly, call or write your state representative to ask House leadership to bring up HSB 249 for debate NOW! If you’re not certain who represents you at the statehouse, go to find your legislator.

(2) Tomorrow, I announce the “trump card” in this fight, one that I believe has the potential to finally convince Iowa’s political leadership to do the right thing and pass the eminent domain bill. Help me get the word out TODAY by cutting and pasting this press release and sharing it online and with your local media:

9:30 a.m. Monday,  June 1, 2015
Des Moines, Iowa
For more information, contact Ed Fallon at (515) 238-6404

Fallon to announce 11th hour “trump card” strategy on eminent domain bill
“It’s time to hit elected officials where they are most vulnerable.”

Tuesday, June 2 at 10:30 a.m. outside Governor Branstad’s office (Room GO9), former Iowa lawmaker Ed Fallon will announce what he calls the “trump card” strategy to move the eminent domain bill (SF 506 and HSB 249) forward. The bill would establish a fairer, more level playing field and provide some protections to landowners along the path of the proposed Bakken oil pipeline. In April, the bill easily passed a subcommittee of the Iowa House and a full committee of the Iowa Senate. But it since has stalled out, and leaders in both chambers are preventing it from coming up for debate.

“The vast majority of Iowans are opposed to government allowing a private corporation to confiscate farmland for an oil pipeline that serves no public purpose,” said Fallon. “Thousands of Iowans have pleaded with lawmakers at the Statehouse and at meetings in their home districts. They have written letter after letter to legislators, Governor Branstad, the Iowa Utilities Board and local newspapers. For my part, I have walked 400 miles across Iowa and been arrested at the Governor’s office. Yet it all seems to fall on deaf ears.”

“Now it’s do or die,” concluded Fallon. “The bill has to pass this week or landowners along the path of the pipeline will not be given the consideration and help they deserve. It’s time to pull out all the stops and embrace a different strategy. It’s time to hit elected officials obstructing the bill where they are most vulnerable.”

At the press conference on Tuesday, Fallon will announce the details of that strategy and share a written statement.

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(3) This coming Saturday, June 6, St. Paul, Minnesota hosts a regional anti-pipeline and tar-sands resistance mobilization that promises to be big and influential. That morning, I have been asked by Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska to co-facilitate a discussion with landowners throughout the Upper Midwest from 9:00-11:00 a.m. (location TBD). Click here to register to attend the meeting, and click here for more detail about the mobilization.

This week’s Fallon Forum can be heard live on Monday, June 1, 11:00-12:00 noon on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) and online. Call (515) 528-8122 to add your voice to the conversation. The program re-broadcasts Wednesday on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m., and Wednesday on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 p.m. Podcasts are available at www.fallonforum.com.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

Fallon to Hold Press Conference Prior to Court Appearance

On Wednesday, May 27 at 12:45 p.m. CDT on the south side of the Polk County Courthouse at 500 Mulberry Street in Des Moines, former Iowa lawmaker Ed Fallon and his attorney Joseph Glazebrook will announce how they intend to respond to the charge of trespass against Fallon for his refusal to leave Governor Branstad’s office last Monday while protesting the Bakken pipeline. Following the press conference, Fallon will appear with Glazebrook before a judge at 1:00 p.m. in Room 201 of the Courthouse.

On Monday, May 18 at 1:30 p.m., Fallon entered Governor Branstad’s office and informed staff that he would refuse to leave until the Governor met with him, heard the stories of the landowners in the path of the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline, and agreed to support the eminent domain bill (SF 506 and HSB 249). The Governor was in his office that day, but declined to meet with Fallon.

This will be Fallon’s second appearance at the Polk County Courthouse in response to a principled act of conscience. The first was in March of 2012, following his arrest as part of the Occupy movement, when on October 9, 2011, Fallon and 35 others refused to leave the public space on the west side of the State Capitol to demand that all levels of government respond to corruption on Wall Street and the growing crisis of income inequality. In response to that arrest, Fallon pled “not-guilty.” He was defended by Joseph Glazebrook. After a trial that lasted one week, Fallon was found “not guilty” by a jury of his peers on March 9, 2012.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about the best course of action to take in response to my arrest last week at the Governor’s office,” said Fallon. “I take the matter very seriously, and have consulted not just with my attorney, Joseph Glazebrook, but with coworkers and others opposed to the Bakken Oil Pipeline as well.”

“Regardless of the outcome of Wednesday’s hearing, I reiterate my commitment to doing everything I can to continue the fight against this pipeline, which is not only an assault on the land and livelihood of farmers and landowners across Iowa, but an assault on our environment and planet as well,” concluded Fallon.

Fallon served 14 years in the Iowa House, from 1993-2006. He ran for Governor in 2006 and U.S. Congress in 2008. Since 2009, he has hosted the Fallon Forum, a public affairs talk show available on three Iowa radio stations and online at www.fallonforum.com.

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Next stop: Polk County Courthouse

Dear Friends,

My arrest at Governor Branstad’s office last Monday (Fallon sits-in at Governor’s office to stop pipeline) has landed me an appearance at the Polk County Courthouse this coming Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. Prior to that, attorney Joseph Glazebrook and I will hold a brief press conference on the south side of the Courthouse at 12:45 to announce how we plan to proceed. I’d love to have friends and fellow pipeline fighters join me for that. Please come if you are able.

I also want to tell you about my jail experience, which was both instructive and disturbing. There was a bit of humor, too, in that one of this pipeline fighter’s cell mates was . . . a pipe fitter! He and I actually hit it off quite well. I’ll save that conversation for today’s program (see below).

Here’s the lowdown on the Memorial Day edition of the Fallon Forum, which you can hear live 11:00-12:00 noon on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) and online. The program re-broadcasts Wednesdays on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m., on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 p.m., and will be available as a podcast.

Dr. Charles Goldman co-hosts our Memorial Day special, and Charles’ brother (and Civil War expert) Stephen Goldman joins us by phone.

(1) We’ll reflect on Memorial Day and thank our veterans by taking a look at the highly-political origins of a day that is now, gratefully, above the political fray.

(2) But we wouldn’t want to let you down, so into the political fray we plunge with a look at the two presidential candidates vying for their respective families to achieve dynasty status: Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton.

(3) On a lighter (literally) note, we pronounce the final word on the “deflate-gate” non-scandal and the merciless skewering of Tom Brady, a.k.a, the best quarterback in the history of football.

(4) Ireland’s historic, resounding vote in support of gay marriage saw only one county vote in opposition: Roscommon. That’s where the Fallon clan hails from, and I hope to have one of my kinfolk join us on the phone to explain why out of 26 counties, Roscommon stood alone.

(5) Ever feel like you’ve had enough and just want your own country? Well, there’s precedent – most recently, the proposed country of Liberland.

(6) Avian flu is big news lately, diverting attention from the ongoing tragedy of rural schools closing as farm consolidation continues. Not surprisingly, the mainstream media missed the sad irony that one soon-to-be shuttered Iowa high school was offered $1 by, get this . . . a huge egg-factory producer that wants to turn the school into a bio-security facility.

(7) We’ll have an update on efforts to stop the Bakken Oil Pipeline. Those efforts are now front and center before Iowa lawmakers and Governor Branstad, as the legislative session shows signs of moving toward adjournment and SF 506 and HSB 249 continue to struggle for passage.

(8) And I’ll talk about my stay at the Polk County Jail.

And please do your part this week to help stop the Bakken Oil Pipeline. 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 ask him or her to support the companion bill, HSB 249. And if you are not certain who represents you at the statehouse, go to find your legislator.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

Branstad Owes Iowa Answers on Pipeline

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.


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

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.”



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.


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


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