Some of the most substantial policy issues facing Iowa in the new year could be decided not by senators and representatives in the Legislature but by bureaucrats and regulators at state agencies.

That is, of course, unless lawmakers push their way into the conversation. And with just over a week before the House and Senate convene in Des Moines, it looks like they will.

A proposed oil pipeline and new wind-energy transmission line are among items to be considered by state agencies in 2015 but are controversial enough that lawmakers, lobbyists and advocacy groups are angling to make them a topic of discussion under the the Capitol dome.

“From a policy standpoint, for us to kick this to a regulatory agency under a hopelessly archaic regulatory structure would be mindboggling,” said attorney and Republican power broker Doug Gross, whose law firm is representing land owners in the path of the oil pipeline.

“We fully would expect there to be a (legislative) debate on this this year,” he added. “There’s a lot of interest out there.”

The Dakota Access oil pipeline and the Rock Island Clean Line both are multibillion-dollar projects aimed at transporting new Midwestern energy resources to market: more than a half-million barrels of Bakken crude oil a day through the pipeline, and 3,500-megawatts of wind energy on the Clean Line’s overhead wires. Both could be reviewed and approved by the Iowa Utilities Board without input or influence from the Legislature.Capitol dome.

Full story here.

If you think you may be affected by the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline Project and/or are interested in a free consultation, contact our eminent domain landowner attorneys at 1-888-318-3761 or visit us on the web at