Bakken Oil Pipeline Weighed In Balance

The Bakken Shale Oil Formation in North Dakota is located inside the Williston Basin. Because of it shape, it is nicknamed “Pork Chop”. The name Bakken comes from a farmer, Henry Bakken, who owned the land where the oil was discovered

As of June 2015, ND is second to Texas in terms of oil production and boasts the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.1%.

The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated the Bakken Shale Formation could yield 4.3 billion barrels of oil and estimates from Continental Resources stretch as high as 40 billion barrels.

Currently under discussion in Iowa is the Bakken oil pipeline. This would cross through 18 Iowa counties at a total of 346 miles. Eighty percent of the easements through farmland have been voluntarily granted by farmers. The remaining twenty percent are the sticky problem. Should eminent domain be invoked?

As a matter of fact, this is the same problem bantered recently in a Republican debate regarding the Keystone pipeline. When one candidate accused another of using eminent domain, it was pointed out that the Keystone pipeline is likewise not a public project, but a private one. Similarly, this Bakken oil pipeline would be created for “for profit” corporation(s), as more than one is involved in the ultimate product, from drilling to shipping to production. However, there is no question that many jobs would be created.

But this the current legal question and worry for Iowans as they discuss the Bakken pipeline.

Eminent domain is the right of a government to seize private property for public use, in exchange for payment of fair market value. But that definition is posing a legal worry for Iowa utility regulators that may ultimately be resolved by Iowa’s courts.

While Iowa hammers out its legal questions, if you are involved in the Bakken oil fields and need legal representation of any other kind, we have represented oil field injury cases, as well as many other types of litigation, for over thirty years. Contact us for any legal problems you have in the Bakken oil field area.