Board that Approved Pipeline Again Under Fire

Dear Friends,

The Iowa Utilities Board continues to demonstrate how out of touch it is with both reality and public opinion. Check out this Bleeding Heartland story about Board chair Geri Huser’s unprecedented conflict of interest. Associated Press reporter Ryan Foley originally broke the story. Here’s the link to that: Iowa regulator keeps busy private law practice.

Geri Huser, Chair, Iowa Utilities Board

The Iowa Senate has the opportunity to do the right thing relevant to whether or not Huser remains on the board. Writes Bleeding Heartland:

“Senators don’t need to make this into a complicated question. Iowa Code says each utilities board member ‘shall devote the member’s whole time to the duties of the office.’ Farming on the weekend or driving a cab at night isn’t the same as lawyering during regular business hours. Anyway, those other occupations don’t present potential conflicts of interest. It’s not a coincidence that no other attorney in living memory has continued running a private law practice while serving on the IUB.”

In the meantime, join Indigenous Iowa and Bold Iowa tomorrow as we call out the IUB for this and other conflicts-of-interest, and for failing to represent the public interest on so many occasions during the hasty approval process for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Here’s an excerpt from Bold Iowa’s press release that went out this morning about tomorrow’s IUB event. Read the full release here:

Members and supporters of Indigenous Iowa and Bold Iowa are invited to join a rally outside IUB this Thursday, April 6 at 1:30 p.m. In addition to comments by organizers and a chance for people to speak out, Native drummers and singers will perform, calling attention to the many ways in which the Dakota Access pipeline is an affront to Native communities in Iowa, North Dakota and across the U.S.

WHAT: Native-led Rally at IUB to Challenge Dakota Access Approval
WHO: Indigenous Iowa, Bold Iowa, Native drummers & singers
WHEN: Thursday, April 6, 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
WHERE: Iowa Utilities Board, 1375 E. Court Avenue, Des Moines

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Native Youth Run to Stop Pipeline

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, I learned from sources in southeast Iowa that pipeline construction has started in Lee and Jefferson counties. This is a sad moment for Iowa. But after the Iowa Utilities Board ruling last month, we knew it was coming.

While sad, I’m hardly discouraged. We still have the court case brought by ten landowners over the illegal use of eminent domain. We still await the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision on issuing a permit.Run for Life 1

And remember: Construction was initiated on other pipelines elsewhere in the country (Keystone, Constitution, Palmetto) and they were defeated. Don’t give up! We can stop this!

Need more hope? On Friday, youth from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation will set-out on a 1,500-mile “Run for Our Water” to Washington, DC to protest the pipeline. They’ll cross Iowa from July 19 – 25, and they invite people to run with them, meet them, share a meal with them and hear their stories. They also need to borrow a couple of vans, if you have one to spare or would like to pay for one to be rented. For more information visit their Facebook Page or contact Bobbi Jean Three Legs at bobbi.jean@ocetisakowinyouth.com or Joseph White Eyes at joseph@ocetisakowinyouth.com.Lakota Youth Run

Need even more hope? Support for direct action to stop the pipeline continues to grow, with nearly 1,000 people signing the Pledge of Resistance! This is incredible and unprecedented. Thank you to those who have signed. If you haven’t, please read the Pledge and consider being part of what could be a truly historic moment.

It’s impossible to say exactly when or where direct action will occur, but it could be soon, and it could be anywhere in Iowa. I’ll keep you posted, and please visit the Bold Iowa Facebook Page for additional updates. Thanks again to Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and CREDO Action for partnering with Bold Iowa to help circulate the Pledge.

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Here are the segment topics from this week’s Fallon Forum, with Dr. Charles Goldman co-hosting. Please bear with us while we continue to work out the kinks in our new and vastly-improved podcasting format. Listen to podcasts here.

1. Shootings show America’s worsening racial and economic divide
2. Anna Kalinsky speaks out on Exxon
3. Our militarized police force an invitation to Fascism
4. Clinton foreign policy more hawk than dove
5. Abortion opponents lose…again

Listen to the Fallon Forum:
– Live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines, IA)
– Outside of central Iowa, listen live here: FALLON FORUM LIVE-STREAM
– KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA)
– KICI.LP 105.3 FM (Iowa City, IA)
– WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

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A Fourth-of-July Stand Against Injustice

Dear Friends,

I sound like a one-trick pony lately, but that’s how serious is this fight against the Bakken Pipeline. Led by farmers, landowners, tribal communities, environmentalists and a dedicated legal team, we have so far prevented billionaire Kelcy Warren and Energy Transfer Partners from tearing through the heart of the best farmland in the world to build a pipeline that threatens to cause so much harm.

In a couple days, Bold Iowa and its allies will announce a powerful action after Independence Day — one we hope will ignite a prairiefire to inspire new allies in the battle to stop the Bakken Pipeline.

For now, there is one thing I ask you to do: Sign the PLEDGE OF RESISTANCE and grow our ranks to one-thousand strong by Independence Day.

Sign the Pledge if you ever said, “I wish I could’ve stood with Martin Luther King, Jr. and other freedom fighters who went to jail during the civil rights struggle.”

tarnick-arrest-kxl-white-house under 200KB

Farmer Jim arrested with Father Jim, protesting the Keystone Pipeline in 2013.

Sign the Pledge if you ever thought, “If I’d been around 100 years ago, what an honor it would have been to be arrested with the brave women fighting for the right to vote.”

Sign the Pledge if you would have stood with these Nebraska ranchers arrested for opposing the Keystone Pipeline.

All across America, the linked battles of climate action and the abuse of eminent domain are at the point where civil disobedience is needed.

If you haven’t already signed the Pledge of Resistance, please take a few minutes to read it over and consider in your heart if you want to look back at this epic moment in history and realize that you could have but didn’t stand with those of us risking arrest in this cause.

If you have signed the Pledge of Resistance, please take a few minutes to personally invite friends, family and others to sign as well.

Thank you!

Ed Fallon

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Pipeline Fighters Needed on Monday!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, June 5, 2016

Contact: Ed Fallon, Bold Iowa ed@boldiowa.org, (515) 238-6404
Adam Mason, Iowa CCI adam@iowacci.org, (515) 282-0484

BROKEN HEARTLAND” RALLY OPPOSES PIPELINE

Des Moines, IA
 – With the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) meeting on Monday, June 6 to possibly decide to allow construction of the Bakken Pipeline in Iowa, Bold Iowa, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, and the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition are set to rally on Monday, June 6 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. at the far west side of the west Capitol Terrace, on the large granite county map of Iowa, at E Locust and E 7th streets.

The groups will ask the IUB not to reverse its March 10 order requiring Dakota Access to secure all necessary permits and authorizations for the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline, set to cross 18 Iowa counties and all of Iowa’s major waterways. Participants will present a creative, visual representation of the potential impact of the pipeline on Iowa’s watersheds, with statements being shared by landowners in each of those watershed areas.

Since the March 10 ruling, Dakota Access has still not received the needed Army Corps of Engineers’ authorizations. On May 25, the US Fish & Wildlife Service revoked an Iowa DNR-issued Sovereign Lands permit after discovering a historic and culturally significant Native America site in the pipeline’s path in Lyon County.

Iowans remain concerned about the project’s impact on soil, water, property rights and economic interests.

Bold Iowa, Iowa CCI and the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition will continue building their “Summer of Resistance” against the Bakken Pipeline. At the granite county map of Iowa on the State Capitol grounds, seven Iowans will speak out about their ecosystems and communities that the pipeline imperils, against the backdrop of a huge patchwork heart in this “Broken Heartland” action.

Who:  Bold Iowa, Iowa CCI and Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition
What: Rally and creative political theater against the Pipeline
Where: Map on the West Capitol Terrace, E Locust & E 7th 
When: Monday June 6, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Bold Iowa and Iowa CCI are part of a growing number of organizations, landowners and everyday Iowans across the state committed to stopping the proposed Bakken Pipeline. Both groups work closely with and are members of the 30-member Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition. Visit www.nobakken.com.

Bold Iowa is part of the national Bold Alliance, now in five states and building unlikely alliances to fight fossil-fuel infrastructure expansion projects and promote renewable energy. Visit www.boldnebraska.org/tag/bold-alliance.

Iowa CCI is a statewide, grassroots people’s-action group that uses community organizing to win public policy that puts communities before corporations and people before profits, politics and polluters. CCI has fought to put people first for 40 years. Visit www.iowacci.org.

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Hold Exxon accountable for climate change coverup

Dear Friends,

2015-05-22 ed arrested 13492_10153321632537500_6688470756927352338_n

Photo by Troy Church, May 18, 2015

A year ago today, I was arrested by my friends with the Iowa State Patrol because Governor Branstad refused to hear the stories of landowners I’d met during my 400-mile walk along the Bakken Pipeline route. Thanks to a coalition of landowners, farmers, tribes, property-rights advocates and environmentalists, this fight is still on. For a handcuffed-stroll down memory lane, from my visit to the Governor’s office to the Polk County Courthouse, click here, here, here and here.

In other news, Bold Iowa has joined the national mobilization to hold Exxon accountable. Click here for the op ed I wrote as it appears in today’s Des Moines Register, or continue reading . . .

Democrat or Republican. Cubs or Cardinals. Tea or coffee. Regardless of where you come down on life’s biggest decisions, here’s a simple concept we all should be able to get behind:

When people behave badly, they need to be held accountable.

Since corporations are people, as we learned from Mitt Romney a few years ago, corporations who behave badly likewise need to be held accountable.

Alas, by now I should know better. Yet, it still surprises me when tough-love politicians — i.e., those who favor corporal punishment, the death penalty, drug testing of welfare recipients, etc. — want to let corporate offenders off the hook with a slap on the wrist, or more commonly, a slightly-smaller tax handout.

Exxon-Bold graphicAmong corporate bad-boys, Exxon Mobil, America’s largest oil company, recently moved to the top of the list, ahead even of Big Tobacco, Big Bank and the NFL.

How badly has Exxon behaved? Well, if you thought Big Tobacco was deceitful for lying about its product while destroying enough lungs to kill 100 million people in the 20th century alone, that pales alongside Exxon’s assault on every lung on the planet.

Last fall, a brilliant piece of investigative journalism conducted by InsideClimate News revealed shocking truths about what Exxon knew about “the emerging science of climate change. The story spans four decades, and is based on primary sources including internal company files dating back to the late 1970s, interviews with former company employees, and other evidence…”

Forty years ago, Americans were mostly one big, happy family of climate deniers. Who could fault us? With little information available to the average person, climate change appeared to be but a muddled theory, potentially no more valid than spontaneous generation or canals on Mars.

But back then, there were those who knew exactly what was happening, including the top brass at Exxon. Like Big Tobacco, instead of dealing responsibly with the findings of its own scientists and researchers, Exxon worked “at the forefront of climate denial. It put its muscle behind efforts to manufacture doubt about the reality of global warming its own scientists had once confirmed. It lobbied to block federal and international action to control greenhouse gas emissions. It helped to erect a vast edifice of misinformation that stands to this day,” the report found.

Americans should be outraged. And the investigation launched by InsideClimate News last year should be just the beginning.

And it is just the beginning. Attorneys general across the nation are conducting their own state-by-state investigations. To his credit, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has expressed interest as well. Hundreds of Iowans have signed petitions encouraging Miller to investigate Exxon with the same tenacity he brought to bear with the tobacco lawsuit several years ago.

(On May 25 at 11 a.m., a coalition of Iowa organizations plans to present Miller with petitions calling for such an investigation. Details here. Please join us!)

Of course, not all Iowans agree. Just as Big Tobacco had its friends, so does Exxon.

Enter Iowa Rep. Steven Holt, R-Denison. In his recent guest column, Holt defends Exxon, arguing against “using the legal system to silence businesses that do not subscribe to government’s conclusions on climate change.”

Silencing Exxon? Hardly. We want them to speak loudly — and truthfully — about everything they knew about climate change, and when they knew it. And we want them to speak before a court of law, if it comes to that.

These state-by-state investigations are not about suppressing dissent. From the perspective of an attorney general, charged with being the chief legal advocate of the public good, an investigation of this nature is about consumer protection, about holding accountable businesses that mislead the public.

Over the years, Iowa Attorney Tom Miller has done an admirable job in that role. Here’s hoping he’ll rise to the challenge again when it comes to Exxon.

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Listen to the Fallon Forum:
– Live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines, IA)
– Outside of central Iowa, listen live here: FALLON FORUM LIVE-STREAM
– KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA)
– KICI.LP 105.3 FM (Iowa City, IA)
– WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

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Awaiting presidential action on the pipeline

Dear Friends,

The Bakken Pipeline poses serious risks to Iowa’s farmland and waters. Yet the project’s impacts have not been fully assessed by the Army Corps of Engineers, despite what the MAIN Coalition claims in a recent opinion piece in The Des Moines Register [Obama urged to allow pipeline to proceed, April 24] and in a letter MAIN sent to President Obama.

The Corps has a stated responsibility “for investigating, developing and maintaining the nation’s water and related environmental resources” on projects like the Bakken Pipeline. That includes the Corps responsibility to the entire area affected by the pipeline, not merely segments of it.

This charge demands a thorough Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to assess the full range of impacts, including climate change and tribal cultural resources.

Landowners, advocates and the Tribal Nations are not the only ones urging the Corps to do its job. The Department of Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency stated their concerns as well. Yet the Corps so far has refused to conduct a full and comprehensive EIS.

Without an EIS, the threat to primary water sources for farmers, ranchers, tribes and city dwellers throughout the four-state region and beyond can never be fully assessed.

Without an EIS, the likely impact on climate change won’t even enter the conversation.

Without an EIS, concerns raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribes about potential damage to the Missouri River watershed and other waters of the United States won’t be heard.

From what I can gather, the MAIN Coalition exists solely to promote the Bakken Pipeline. So, it should come as no surprise that fossil-fuel interests dominate MAIN’s membership.

MAIN’s letter to President Obama was sent exactly one week after I sent a letter on the same subject to the president. That letter was co-signed and co-authored by Jane Kleeb of Bold Alliance, Dallas Goldtooth of Indigenous Environmental Network, and Frank James of Dakota Rural Action. The letter has since been signed by over twenty Iowa organizations opposed to the pipeline — organizations that Wiederstein characterizes as “outside groups” and as  “environmental groups opposed to all forms of energy.”

Sorry, but that’s ridiculous. MAIN is on extremely shaky ground to disparage criticism of the pipeline as agitation from “outside groups.” I’ll remind readers that Dakota Access is from Texas.

Furthermore, our letter’s signatories stand with tribal leaders who claim the Corps failed to properly consult with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on the pipeline’s impacts.

The letter reads: “{T}he Corps is mandated to initiate consultation with tribes whose historic properties may be affected by the pipeline route. This includes consulting and coordinating with the aforementioned tribes on the identification of historic and tribal properties that may be adversely affected by pipeline construction and route.”

Not only do we stand with the tribes, but some of us will run with them as well on May 3, when a 500-mile relay led by a young Lakota woman name Bobbi Jean Three Legs arrives at noon at the Corps’ headquarters in Omaha, to tell the Corps that pipelines are not wanted on native lands.

Back to President Obama and his role in the Bakken Pipeline. I’ll quote from our letter:

“Dear President Obama. Your rejection of the Keystone Pipeline was truly historic, and we again commend you for that bold act of foresight and leadership. Your decision sent a strong statement about the importance of protecting land, water and property rights. It also conveyed the message that climate change is a clear and present danger demanding America’s full commitment to ending our reliance on fossil fuels as quickly as possible.

“With that frame of reference, we ask you in the strongest possible terms to exert the same clarion leadership with regards to the proposed Bakken Pipeline.”

I wish I were a fly on the wall of the president’s office as he considers our letter and the letter from MAIN. These letters sum up his options.

Will the president tell the Corps to ignore its historic responsibility of “maintaining the nation’s water and related environmental resources,” thus allowing Dakota Access to rush forward on a pipeline that has generated so much public backlash?

Or will he hear the plea of those with no vested financial interest in oil or pipelines, those who will suffer with the destruction of farmland, water and habitat?

Given the legacy President Obama has built, I believe he will side with the people, with our water, our land, our property rights and our planet.

{If you want to see what I wrote above as it appeared in The Des Moines Register on Sunday, go to “Army Corps refuses to assess pipeline’s impacts.”}

On today’s Fallon Forum:
– Filmmaker Jon Bowermaster discusses his film, Dear President Obama, The Clean Energy Revolution Is Now!.
– Dairy farmer Francis Thicke talks about the confusion over nitrogen pollution, in large part due to Big Ag’s campaign of disinformation.
– Defenders of Exxon’s decades-long campaign of deceit fight back, even as Exxon’s quarterly profits hit a ten-year low.
– Kevin McCarthy with the Iowa Attorney General’s office discusses progress being made to address sentencing disparities for non-violent offenders.

Listen to the Fallon Forum:
– Live on Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines, IA)
– Outside of central Iowa, listen live here: FALLON FORUM LIVE-STREAM
– On KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA) Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. CT
– On WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– On KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

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Pipeline Opponents Will Continue Fight

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
3:00 p.m. CST – Thursday, February 11, 2016

Contact:  Ed Fallon, 515-238-6404 or fallonforum@gmail.com
Kathy Holdefer, 515-491-8468 or kholdefer@hotmail.com
State Rep. Dan Kelley, (641) 521-9260 or dan.kelley@legis.iowa.gov
Pam & Bill Alexander, (641) 682-5905 or wha-lex55@hotmail.com

Pipeline Opponents Will Continue Fight
Vow to remain vigilant, active, engaged

DES MOINES — Iowa pipeline fighters commended the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) for taking further time to deliberate on Dakota Access’ request for a permit to build a crude oil pipeline across 350 miles of prime Iowa farmland. It is uncertain how the process will continue to unfold, but after a week of IUB meetings, pipeline opponents made it clear they will continue to be involved, vigilant and outspoken.

“I continue to be proud of how far we have come in resisting this attack on Iowa landowner rights as well as on our soil and water,” said Kathy Holdefer, a Jasper County landowner whose land is just a few hundred yards from where the pipeline is proposed to run. “I think Dakota Access thought it would bulldoze us through this process, similar to how they want to bulldoze our land. We will continue to fight this until we drive this out-of-state, private company out of Iowa.”

“I commend the board members for taking further time to address this unprecedented and extremely damaging proposal,” said Ed Fallon, a former lawmaker who walked the length of the proposed pipeline in 2015. “Some board members’ comments concern me. But much of their inquiry is spot-on. And staff have done a decent job at presenting not just Dakota Access’ view point but the perspective of opponents as well. The fact that board members are willing to further slow down the process is encouraging.”

“I’ve opposed this project on behalf of Jasper County farmers and landowners from the beginning,” said State Representative Dan Kelley (D-Newton), who attended the IUB meeting today. “Our environment must be protected from spills – both catastrophic and chronic. Our addiction to oil may be fatal, and our focus must be on clean renewables.” Kelley wouldn’t speculate on the IUB’s eventual decision, saying it could go either way.

“Our whole family is affected by this,” said Pam Alexander, whose family owns land in Mahaska County that would be compromised by the pipeline. “It’s been nerve-wracking, not knowing what’s going on from one step to the next. It seems like we landowners are almost second-class citizens when it comes to our role in this pipeline. But I am at least glad the Board is taking time making a decision.”

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Pipeline Battle Moves to Courts

Dear Friends,

Keith Puntenney

Good news in the battle to stop the Bakken Oil Pipeline! Landowners and attorneys have formed the Private Property Rights Coalition (PPRC) to take the fight to the courts. PPRC’s lawsuit maintains that “the Iowa Utilities Board has no legal authority to grant eminent domain to Dakota Access,” and that “the Legislature did not intend for a nonresident interstate crude oil pipeline to be able to use our eminent domain laws to take farmland from Iowans and then not be subject to Iowa’s pipeline safety regulations.”

Continue Reading →

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