#NoDAPL Camps Move to Iowa Where Legal Battle Continues

By Yessenia Funes May 15, 2017

Opponents to the Dakota Access Pipeline have built a camp in Iowa. The pipeline may be completed and ready to flow oil starting June 1, but resistance against it continues.

About 20 #NoDAPL supporters are based in Little Creek Camp in Williamsburg, Iowa, reports USA TODAY. The original resistance camps—which dwarfed this one with populations as high as 10,000 at its height—were based in Cannonball, North Dakota, near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation.

When Governor Doug Burgum ordered the camp to clear out in February, many people returned to their everyday lives, but a number headed to Iowa instead.

“It’s disheartening to say the least,” said Glenn Williamson, a 41-year-old from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to USA TODAY. “But for some of us, it’s strengthening our resolve as well. We know we still need to be here, and we are going to be as active, if not more, in the future.”

Little Creek Camp members believe that ongoing litigation in Iowa surrounding landowners who believe their land was wrongfully taken from them via eminent domain could successfully shut down the 1,172-mile long pipeline. They want to see the Iowa Supreme Court reverse the Iowa Utilities Board’s decision to grant land to pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners using eminent domain. In February, a county judge ruled that the company seized the land lawfully. The group appealed that decision in March.

Eminent domain allows any municipal, state or federal governments to take private land if it’s for public benefit after proper compensation, but 14 landowners argue that they will not benefit from the pipeline project. More simply put, they do not want the pipeline running through their land.

The lawyer representing the landowners, Bill Hanigan, said to The Des Moines Register in February, “A private, out-of-state company, which doesn’t serve Iowans, should not be able to use eminent domain to seize Iowa farmland for the purpose of exporting crude oil.”

The pipeline has met resistance throughout its existence, but President Donald Trump‘s signing of a memo to steamroll the project seemed to settle the question of its completion. Pipeline opponents are now relying on the court system to reverse the outcome.

Along with Iowan landowners, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe continues its litigation against the administration and Energy Transfer Partners for how the approval process was handled following the president’s memo. In an update posted online May 10, attorneys with Earthjustice, an environmental law firm representing the tribe, write they have filed all legal briefs and are now awaiting guidance from the judge.