Brian Jorde Quoted by Des Moines Register on Navigator CO2 Pipeline Legal Battle

Brian Jorde Quoted by Des Moines Register on Navigator CO2 Pipeline Legal Battle

The Des Moines Register has quoted Domina Law Group Managing Lawyer Brian Jorde and portions of a countersuit recently filed by our firm in an article about an Iowa couple’s legal battle against the Navigator CO2 pipeline.

As reported by the Des Moines Register, Vicki Hulse and her husband Bill, a Vietnam veteran who lives at a veterans home due to his declining health, have been fighting Navigator CO2 Ventures’ plan to construct part of its $3 billion carbon pipeline across their farm in northwest Iowa. After denying a Navigator surveyor entry onto their 151-acre property in June, the couple is now facing a potential injunction that would force them to grant Navigator’s agent access to conduct a survey.

Now, Attorney Brian Jorde and our firm are representing the Hulses in a countersuit that seeks to stop Navigator from entering their land. Jorde and are team are also challenging the constitutionality of a state law that allows developers to survey private land before they’ve received approval to build from regulators, or when they’ve been granted eminent domain to force private landowners to sell easements and allow access for the project.

At the heart of the Hulses’ legal challenge is an Iowa law that allows companies to survey land along proposed pipeline routes without it being deemed trespass. The law requires developers to first hold public meetings and issue proper notice before showing up.

In the Hulses’ counterclaim, Jorde and our team contend that the law violates Iowa’s Constitution, which says “private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation first being made,” and which also protects landowners’ property rights from unwarranted government intrusion. The law allowing companies to conduct surveys without permission, the lawsuit argues, amounts to the state appropriating their clients’ right to exclude others from their property for the benefit of the pipeline company. As Attorney Brian Jorde notes:

"The right to exclude is ‘one of the most treasured’ rights of property ownership. Navigator has no right to invade the Hulses' land absent the culmination of a formal condemnation proceeding, which is part of the eminent domain process.”

The suit notes that Iowa law and rules adopted by the Iowa Utilities Board outline a process to be followed for projects like Navigator’s. First, the Utilities Board must decide whether to grant a permit for construction of a hazardous liquid pipeline and, if it does, whether the company should be granted eminent domain powers to force unwilling landowners to accept compensation for easements.

Navigator has not yet filed a permit request and legal experts quoted by the Register say any decision in the case is likely to be appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court, which would delay the project.

You can read the full article featuring quotes from Brian Jorde and our countersuit here.