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.