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Climate Change

Climate Reality Project Comes To Iowa

the-climate-reality-project-logoCEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa– More than 350 people from around the globe convene here for the Climate Reality Leadership Corps’ 28th training beginning Tuesday, May 5.

The group is kicking off its North American advocacy effort for firm and substantial governmental commitments to climate action at the 21st United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP-21) to be held in Paris, France on Dec. 11., said Mario Molina, director of the 7,500-member international group of climate activists. Additional trainings are being held this year in Florida and Toronto, Canada to jump-start the effort with 1,000 newly trained climate leaders in advance of COP-21.

They are also here because of Iowa’s first in the nation political caucuses to make sure the need for climate action is heard by the field of presidential hopefuls traversing the state.

On Monday, May 4, State Senator Rob Hogg, a speaker at the training, pointed out in an email that three presidential candidates will be visiting Cedar Rapids this week. He encouraged readers to question the candidates about climate change.

“This gives us an opportunity to tell the candidates that Iowans are concerned about climate change and perhaps even ask the candidates questions about climate change,” Hogg said.

He provided a schedule and possible questions for the candidates.

Tuesday, May 5, 4:30 p.m. – Candidate Ben Carson of Florida (formerly of Maryland and Michigan) will be speaking at the Cedar Rapids Marriott, 1200 Collins Road NE, on Tuesday, May 5, at 4:30 p.m. He will be joined by Congressman Rod Blum. This is a chance to speak with Congressman Blum as well as Carson.

Thursday, May 7, 7:30 a.m. – Candidate Carly Fiorina of California is scheduled to speak Thursday, May 7, from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the Blue Strawberry, 118 2nd St. SE, in downtown Cedar Rapids.

Thursday, May 7, noon – Candidate Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, is scheduled to speak at the Pizza Ranch, 2450 Westdale Dr., in southwest Cedar Rapids, on Thursday, May 7, at noon.

Hogg suggested these questions for the three Republicans:

Did you agree with President Reagan’s decision to sign the Montreal Protocol on stratospheric ozone depletion, and if so, would you support similar international agreements to fight climate change?

Are you concerned about climate-related disasters like record flooding in Iowa, record drought in California, and sea level rise, and if so, what would you do about it?

Climate Reality Project founder and former Vice President Al Gore is expected to be present for the three days of training. Part of the training is related to his slideshow about the science and human impact of climate change, an updated version of the one used in the movie An Inconvenient Truth. He is also expected to meet with key political figures regarding the need for climate action while in Iowa.

About 75 of the training attendees are Iowans, so there is hope the need for climate action can be kept in front of politicians during the 2016 election cycle.

To learn more, visit

To Our Grandchild

Celebrate Earth Day Everyday!

Celebrate Earth Day Everyday!

We want to get our apology in now. We won’t be around a lot longer and it looks like the one thing we had hoped to give you when you reached adulthood was a world that was at least trying to get a grip on its problems so that humans could share the one planet we have in a way that all could survive. If things continue the direction they are going, we will have failed miserably and left your generation in the worst shape of any that inherited the earth.

For the past 35 years the greedy have ruled the planet with money and their own interests in mind. For the most part that meant that they exploited most everything they could. They exploited raw materials around the world where they sowed the seeds of hate and injustice and eventual war in pursuit of that exploitation. They exploited human labor to the very depths they could and bought off government and officials so they would look the other way when they went even lower than was legal.

They exploited the American constitution so they could essentially run the government. Laws were written such that they could exploit American workers and our environment. They used their money and power to influence elections through gerrymandering, through disenfranchising certain segments of voters and also to confuse and intimidate voters. When their candidates were elected they went about the business of changing laws to keep them in power and filling the judiciary with their lackeys so that their view would almost always win in courts.

They exploited and owned the media to its fullest extent. Finding any alternative news source after the presidency of Ronald Reagan was much like looking for Sasquatch. Rumors were that such things existed, but were seldom spotted. We have been given a steady stream of information that tells us that whatever is good for the rich is good for us. This media has led us cheering into war after war. They have led us to believe that the US committing terrorism by drones within foreign countries is good. They have created fear among citizens to the point where we armed ourselves to the teeth ready to shoot strangers at the drop of a hand. And for every drone, every weapon of war, every gun and bullet that was sold the greedy got richer and our society got poorer.

They exploited fear not only of strangers but of an unseen and unprovable entity called a god. They used this god to extract unquestioning loyalty for fear that the exploited would meet some fearful eternity. Using the fear to create a people scared of their own shadows and afraid to question whatever the greedy did.

When people were full of fear and filled with so much misinformation that reality seemed like a fantasy to those people, the greedy then went about destroying the environment that allowed human life to occur on this one lonely planet that we know of. The air became nearly impossible to breath, the water so filthy it could barely be cleaned any more. The temperatures soared and rivers and aquifers dried up in one spot while floods raged in others driving people from their land and eventually covering coastal areas. Food became scarce for many even while food resources were used to feed animals for consumption by the greedy who had money and power.

Your grandmother and I tried to work in the systems of democracy to stop what was going on. Sadly, our letters to people in power, our marching, our phone calls were easily drowned out by the money on influence of the greedy. We were frustrated, but carried on believing that what was best for all would eventually win out. Slowly we learned that a few greedy people with money and power can easily get their way through access, confusion and fear.

And so you inherit a world that is broken. A world where food and clean water are like gold was to many of us. You inherit a world where fear that has been ground into people is one of the driving forces. You inherit a world full of religious prejudice and fear. You inherit a world that is so warm it is nearly impossible to lived in. We are deeply sorry.

We believed that given choices that most people would choose what was best for the greatest number. We were very wrong. We learned that most people will follow what seems to be the crowd, even if it is an artificially produced crowd. Maybe your generation will respond to the crisis we dropped on you, but I fear forces of greed will stop any progress in your time also.

But we will not stop fighting. Mankind is worth fighting for.

Earth Day And The Pentagon

Ed Flaherty

Ed Flaherty

by Ed Flaherty

This week we celebrate Earth Day. It is a day to bring into the active areas of our brains the innate understanding that we have only one Mother Earth to live on, and that she needs our care badly.

We can each help in our own individual ways. We can bike, recycle, eat healthy, garden, plant trees, reduce our carbon imprint, etc. But how can we reconcile our own important but small efforts with our blindness to the fact that most of the discretionary budget of the U.S. federal government is devoted to the military? The U.S. military is the largest consumer of fossil fuels in the world. It emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than any other organization in the world.

Forget for a moment the disastrous environmental effects of war itself. Forget for a moment the erosion of moral and civil values as we accept the idea of perpetual war.

Ask yourself one question. Why devote most of our discretionary budget to fund the organization that is doing more than any other to destroy the security of the planet? Our splendid democracy should be capable of allocating our resources to efforts to secure our environment, and should be able to induce the Pentagon to adjust its mission to one of helping, not destroying, our only home.

earth day april 22

Click on the image for Earth week events in Iowa


Climate Change It Is Happening, Folks

global temps chart 1880 - present

Warmest 12 Month Period Were The Last 12 Months.
In case you missed it, climate change has not gone away. Here in Iowa we have been spared much of the anguish of the effects of climate change, except for the drenching rains followed by long dry spells. However, reality is setting in elsewhere. Scientists tracking the climate tell us the past rolling 12 month period have been the hottest 12 months on record. It looks like as each month passes the record just keeps going.

This story comes with a couple of scary paragraphs of what may be in the offing:

Besides El Niño, a more worrying, longer-term trend is also taking shape. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is a decades-long periodic warming of the Pacific Ocean that tends to favor bursts of accelerated global warming. As I wrote last October, the Pacific appears to be in the midst of a shift into a new warm phase that could last 20 years or so.

The PDO—or, “the blob” as it’s been referred to recently—is starting to freak out some scientists. There are emerging signs of a major shift in the Pacific Ocean’s food chain, including a dearth of plankton, tropical fish sightings near Alaska, and thousands of starving sea lion pups stranded on the California coast. As Earth’s largest ocean, what happens in the Pacific affects the weather virtually planet-wide, and that means an “imminent” jump in global warming may have already begun—spurred on by the PDO.

The PDO has skyrocketed to record-high monthly levels over the past four months. In fact, there have only been four other similarly warm four-month bursts of the PDO in the last 115 years (in 1940, 1941, 1993, and 1997). A quick look at the historical record (for both 15 years prior to and 15 years after the bursts) shows that global temperatures rose at twice the rate of the 20th century average immediately after these bursts.

From wunderground Friday

CEOs Urging Action in 2015 on Global Climate

In an open letter released on Thursday evening, 43 chief executive officers from leading global companies called on governments around the world to take bold action at the pivotal UN climate meeting set for later this year. The CEOs are listed in a full-page ad appearing in Friday’s issue of Financial Times (see image below), in conjunction with the spring meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund. The signatories to the letter include David Kenny, chairman and CEO of The Weather Company, the umbrella organization that includes Weather Underground. “Climate change is one of the biggest global challenges that will shape the way we do business now and in the coming decades,” the CEOs stated. “We extend an open offer to national governments to meet and co-design tangible actions as well as ambitious, effective targets that are appropriate for their different jurisdictions.”

Looking toward a post-Kyoto climate deal
Representatives from around the world will meet in Paris this December for the 21st UN Conference of Parties (COP21), a product of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that was signed by U.S. President George Bush and the heads of 164 other nations. Delegates in Paris will be working toward a new global agreement on carbon emissions to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, whose initial phase expired in 2012. The CEOs’ open letter outlines their shared vision for a successful climate deal at COP21, as well as their companies’ commitments to reduce their environmental and carbon footprints, serve as climate action ambassadors, manage climate risks, and help strengthen societal resilience to climate change.

“Hastening the shift to a low-carbon economy in an economically sustainable manner will generate growth and jobs in both the developing and developed world. Delaying action is not an option–it will be costly and will damage growth prospects in the years to come,” states the open letter. “The CEO Climate Leaders call on government leaders and policy makers to align on global measures, to be consistent in policy-making and to develop helpful innovation frameworks. A comprehensive, inclusive and ambitious climate deal in Paris on mitigation, adaptation and finance–in combination with a strong set of clear policy signals from the world’s leaders–is key to accelerating this transition. This opportunity should not be missed.”

This Week On The Fallon Forum: House Rural Caucus Update

fallon forumEd talks about the Pipeline Walk with State Rep. Dan Kelley today at 11:00 a.m. Also, State Reps. Bruce Bearinger and Sally Stutsman discuss the House Rural Caucus – Catch the Fallon Forum live on Monday from 11:00 am – 12:00 noon on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines)   Join the conversation by calling in at (515) 528-8122. And you can hear the Fallon Forum on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 pm on Wednesday and on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 pm on Wednesday.

Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day Seventeen & Eighteen

Thursday, March 19, 2015 – Mingo, Iowa/Friday, March 20, 2015 – Maxwell, Iowa

For original blog with photo, click here.
For the latest Iowa Pipeline Walk route and schedule detail, click here.

Walkin’ the Bakken is proving to be a bigger undertaking than I imagined. My deepest thanks to all of you along the route who have helped with logistics or who have walked with me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I also want to acknowledge three colleagues who are making a huge difference in the success of the Walk. Shari Hrdina, who served as the Administrative Director of the Great March for Climate Action, keeps all the pieces from falling through the cracks. And there are so many pieces! Shari is the glue behind the scenes, and we could not do this without her.

Peter Clay works with our local supporters along the route to organize meetings. Peter joined last year’s Climate March for 700 miles, and is now instrumental as a volunteer with the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition. He continues to keep us networked and supporting each others’ efforts.

Landowners are asking lots of legal, procedural and technical questions that I can’t answer. Managing this critical task is David Goodner of the Des Moines Catholic Worker. David is one of the most promising young organizers I know, and he’s getting back in touch with the hundreds of landowners and rural Iowans I’ve met along the Walk.

Of course, with legal questions, it helps to have . . . a lawyer! Several experienced attorneys are working with landowners and other parties opposed to the pipeline. Wally Taylor with the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club and I recently discussed the contracts signed by landowners – many of whom are opposed to the pipeline. Here’s what Wally shared:

“A number of attorneys agree that the easements landowners are signing or being asked to sign by Dakota Access have serious problems that adversely impact landowners. In fact, for landowners who have already signed easements, they could declare the leases null and void. Landowners should not sign anything until they have discussed the easements with an attorney. Review by an attorney would only require a short conference that would not be very expensive but would save the landowners a lot of heartache.

“We have also discovered that Dakota Access is now presenting an addendum to the easement to provide insurance coverage. The insurance allegedly covers liability of the company up to $5 million per year. This is per occurrence, not per landowner. There is also an additional umbrella coverage for another $5 million. One problem with this is that $10 million doesn’t even begin to cover the cost of cleanup.

“Other pipeline spills have incurred costs of hundreds of millions of dollars, or even over a billion dollars. Another problem is that this is an insurance policy. Anyone who has dealt with insurance companies knows that the company will either deny coverage or try to limit the amount of the insurance payment. A landowner would have to take legal action to be properly compensated, Ed-walking-down-countryside-low-large-300x244involving great time and expense.”

More and more Iowans are stepping forward to help defeat the pipeline. Perhaps you are already engaged as well. If not, and if you’d like a niche in this critical undertaking, let me know and we’ll make it happen!

This Week On The Fallon Forum: New Questions About Proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline Through Iowa

fallon forumPlease follow Ed Fallon’s walk across Iowa along the route of the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline.  Go to   

For the latest Iowa Pipeline Walk route and schedule detail click here.  Help this information reach more Iowans. Please like and share.  You can also follow on Facebook or get e-mail updates.

Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day Thirteen

by Ed Fallon

Saturday, March 14, 2015 – Mahaska/Jasper County line

Toady marks 150 miles of walking as I step into the seventh county along the pipeline route. A heartfelt “Thank you!” to State Rep. Dan Kelley and Kathy Holdefer (a landowner near Mingo), who each organized a meeting today with landowners and other concerned Jasper County residents.

At a 7:00 a.m. meeting at Uncle Nancy’s on the Newton town square, Dan spoke about his strong opposition to the pipeline. He has introduced legislation and also signed a letter from 15 lawmakers to the Iowa Utilities Board calling for an environmental impact assessment.

Today, Dan surprised me with a new angle that throws a whole new wrinkle into the pipeline conversation.

Apparently, no one had ever asked the Iowa Utilities Board’s staff if there already existed in Iowa another oil pipeline. Dan asked, and was told that there was, indeed, one other crude oil pipeline running through Iowa.

This pipeline travels north-south, roughly following I-35. It was built in the 1950s and is now owned by the infamous Koch Brothers. It was mothballed in 2013.

“I don’t want an oil pipeline running through Iowa,” said Dan. “But if Dakota Access wants to build one, why tear-up farmland diagonally across Iowa when there’s already an established right of way?”

This begs so many additional questions. Where did the oil transported through this pipeline come from? What was its final destination? Who were the original owners? How long have the Koch Brothers owned it? Were there ever any leaks or accidents? How many gallons a day did it move? Why was it abandoned in 2013? Why hasn’t Dakota Access considered using this route?

Dan and I will talk about this on today’s Fallon Forum at 11:00. Also, State Rep. John Forbes joins Dan with talk about industrial hemp. What would it do for Iowa’s economy? And find out why John feels industrial hemp is also good for the environment.

Catch the Fallon Forum live on Monday from 11:00 am – 12:00 noon on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines)   Join the conversation by calling in at (515) 528-8122. And you can hear the Fallon Forum on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 pm on Wednesday and on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 pm on Wednesday.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon


March 2 – April 22 (Earth Day) – Iowa Pipeline Walk
Ed Fallon will walk over 400 miles following the proposed path of the Bakken Oil Pipeline to help landowners opposed to having their land taken by eminent domain – an area of law Ed worked on extensively while a state lawmaker. Ed will also discuss the urgency of the climate crisis and the need to protect our water. For information on the route, click here. Contact

March 16 – Meeting to discuss the Bakken Oil Pipeline (Farrar)
A public meeting for residents of Polk County at the United Methodist Church at 7:00 p.m. to meet with Ed Fallon to discuss concerns about eminent domain, climate change, water quality and related issues during Ed’s 400-mile walk along the proposed route of the Bakken Oil Pipeline. Contact Peter Clay at

March 18 – Meeting to discuss the Bakken Oil Pipeline (Ames)
A public meeting for residents of Story County at the Ames Public Library from 7:00-8:30 p.m. to meet with Ed Fallon to discuss concerns about eminent domain, climate change, water quality and related issues during Ed’s 400-mile walk along the proposed route of the Bakken Oil Pipeline. Contact Susan Franzen at

March 27 – April 12 – Climate Action Across America
Congress will be on Easter recess, or home for district work periods, for these 17 days this spring. Please call your Congressional representatives and Senators to arrange a time to meet with them about the need for climate action.


Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 11

Ed Fallon talking with a farmer along the  pipeline route   photo:

Ed Fallon talking with a farmer along the pipeline route photo:

[Dave Bradley’s Sunday Funday civics quiz will be back next week.]

Please follow Ed Fallon’s walk across Iowa along the route of the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline.  Go to  You can also follow on Facebook or get e-mail updates.

Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day Eleven

by Ed Fallon

Thursday, March 12, 2015 – North of Oskaloosa, Iowa

Since last summer, it has been clear that Kelcy Warren’s company would push hard and fast to get the pipeline built as quickly as possible.

But walking across Mahaska County this week, I am learning just how aggressive they have been in making their sales pitch.

Today, I spoke with 12 landowners. About half were against the pipeline. Yet most feel there is nothing they can do to stop it.

One 60-year-old farmer who is dead set against the pipeline nonetheless signed a contract. The company paid him $60,000 for an easement to two acres, access to his property from the nearest road, and for the removal of nine mature cottonwood trees. (He was upset about the cottonwood trees because they provide shade for his cattle.)

But the money wasn’t the main reason he signed. The company official told him they would eventually get his land through eminent domain and he would get less money. The farmer described this sales rep as very slick, very aggressive. The rep would even call as many as six times a day, pressuring the farmer to sell.

The farmer also told me that the pipeline would run across the very highest part of his property. If it broke on his land, it would absolutely ruin the rest of his farm.

I wish I’d had a chance to talk with him before he signed the contract. I told him the company does not yet have the authority to condemn farmland. And I told him there is bipartisan legislation moving in the Iowa House and Senate that would make it impossible for a private business to condemn land for a pipeline.

While most pipeline opponents have yet to sign a deal with the company, some have. We need to keep in touch with them as well, and encourage them to keep us posted on things they are hearing from the company and from their neighbors.

For the latest Iowa Pipeline Walk route and schedule detail click here

Help this information reach more Iowans. Please like and share.

This Week On The Fallon Forum: Iowa Pipeline Walk, Wage Theft, Minimum Wage


Saturday, March 7, 2015 – Bladensburg, Iowa
For the latest Iowa Pipeline Walk route and schedule detail, click here.

“Are you out for exercise or are ya broke down?” asked the bearded man driving a white pick-up truck sporting a thick coat of mud. I laughed and said, “Neither,” as I explained that I was walking the path of the proposed pipeline. “I don’t much like what this Texas billionaire has in store for Iowa,” I probed.

The driver said, “There’s only about six people who are going to get rich on this thing, and none of them live in Iowa.” He owned land just up the road, not quite on the pipeline route. He was noncommittal on what he would have done had the pipeline company wanted to come through his land. But he agreed emphatically with me when I said the pipeline wasn’t going to improve anyone’s property values.

As I walked 14.3 miles to Hedrick today, I passed about two dozen rural homes. Most of them had probably received a letter from the pipeline company. Perhaps some of them had already settled, maybe even received a check. There was little activity on the road, and I only passed one farmstead with anyone outside – two men removing boards from an old barn. One of them told me he was for the pipeline. I wanted to ask him why, wanted to talk further.

But I felt rushed to get to Hedrick in time for an appointment, and realized that even at three miles an hour, I was moving too fast. I needed to slow down. Tackling 15-16 miles per day left me little time to stop and talk with people along the route. I decided then and there that, even if it meant extending the walk another two weeks, I would cut back the distance to around 10 miles a day. That would give me an additional 2-3 hours of potentially quality conversation time.

It also made sense, I concluded, to carry with me a letter laying out my concerns, and the concerns of others I had met along the way. I wanted something I could give to people I met, or leave at their doors if they weren’t home. If you’d like to see what I’m sharing with landowners, click here. Your feedback is most welcome.

Ed Fallon, "People need to be thinking of what changes they can make in their own life."

Ed Fallon, “People need to be thinking of what changes they can make in their own life.”

This week’s Fallon Forum again features State Rep. Dan Kelley as host. I’ll call-in and talk about the walk for the first half of the program. Then State Rep. Bruce Hunter joins Dan to talk about minimum wage and wage theft.

The Fallon Forum airs Monday, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CST on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) or online. Join the conversation by calling (515) 528-8122. You also can hear the Fallon Forum on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday and on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Thanks!

PSR Iowa And UNA Iowa Co-Sponsor Fundraiser For Climate Action

psr-logo-officialIowa Chapter
Physicians for Social Responsibility
20 East Market ● Room 200 ● Iowa City, IA

Dear Friend,

  • 2014 was the hottest year in recorded history.
  • 2014 was the year of the Great Climate March for Climate action from Los Angeles to Washington DC over 8 months and 3,000 miles.

Now it’s 2015…

PSR/Iowa and UNA Iowa are co-sponsoring a dinner and fundraiser featuring a presentation by Ed Fallon on the Great Climate March and the Bakken Pipeline

Thursday March 11, 2015, 5 PM to 8 PM
at the University Club at 1360 Melrose Ave, Iowa City
Free Parking

Admission is $40 per plate for this sit-down dinner and presentation

Ed Fallon, former Iowa legislator and the leader of the 2014 Great March for Climate Action, will be speaking about his experiences walking across the country, and his encounters with the President’s special advisers on Energy and Environment.

Of the Great Climate March Ed tells us “We experienced things most people can’t even imagine. Throughout our journey, we encountered first-hand some of the unprecedented weather climate scientists have predicted. And we met face-to-face people impacted by climate change and people grappling with an expanding fossil fuel infrastructure that is damaging or destroying their land, water and very way of life.”

Ed will be joining us from a new March. Starting March 1, Ed will walk across Iowa engaging the land owners along the route of the proposed Bakken Pipeline. The plan is for the pipeline to begin hauling crude oil from North Dakota across Iowa to Illinois for eventual refining in the gulf beginning some time in 2016.

Please join is for what will prove to be a stimulating and educational evening:

5-6 PM: Arrive & gather with hors d’oeuvres and cash bar.
5:45 PM: Sit-down dinner served
6:00 PM: Opening remarks from PSR/Iowa and UNA Iowa.
6:15 PM: Ed Fallon’s presentation and discussion

For questions or more information contact us at or phone 319-530-3608

Hughie Tweedy To Pipeline: “My Land Is Not For Sale – Not For A Million Bucks”


Beginning on March 2, 2015, Ed Fallon began a walk of 400 miles following the path of the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline. He will walk from the southeast corner of Iowa to the northwest corner of the state, meeting with landowners and others to talk about the importance of respecting farmland and the imperative to stop the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure projects. Follow his walk on the Fallon Forum website. You can also keep track of Ed’s walk on Facebook and through regular email updates.   For Iowa Pipeline Walk route and schedule detail, click here.

Here is Ed’s post written yesterday, prior to embarking on the first step of his journey.


Hughie Tweedy fallonforum

Hughie Tweedy/photo credit

I’ve not even taken the first step of my walk and I’m already meeting landowners opposed to the Bakken Oil Pipeline. Last night I had dinner with Hughie Tweedy at a Lee County farmhouse. Hughie is a colorful, fiercely independent farmer whose homestead is just a few farms west of the Mississippi River – and directly in the path of the pipeline. A forest that Hughie and his Dad before him planted and cared for would be torn to pieces if the pipeline were built. Hughie considers his land sacred, and cannot understand how anyone would condemn it for an oil pipeline.

Hughie informed the pipeline company that, in no uncertain terms, his land was not for sale, not for a million bucks. His neighbors don’t want a pipeline coming through their land either, but many feel helpless, resigned to the notion that “you can’t beat City Hall.”

Last night, I told Hughie about some of the nearly two dozen eminent domain battles I was involved with back in the 1990s and 2000s. I told him how farmers and landowners banded together to stop developers who wanted to take their land. Often it was for a lake or an airport, sometimes for a mall or a four-lane highway. When people in the path of these projects stood firm – and got others to stand with them – more often than not, they won.

Hughie is one of several Iowans featured in a documentary focused on Iowans fighting against the misuse of eminent domain. Last night, our evening went late as the documentary crew filled the living room with cameras and equipment and captured much of our conversation.

Today, I head down to the Mississippi River for the first leg of my journey. I’ll take with me cedar, sage and sweet grass given to me by my Native American friend from Earlham, Robert Knuth. Following Robert’s instructions, I’ll offer a prayer of protection for the land threatened by this pipeline, and a prayer that Hughie Tweedy and all caretakers of the land will continue to stand strong.

On today’s Fallon Forum, [see re-broadcast times below] I’ll call in with an update from the Iowa Pipeline Walk as State Representative Dan Kelley hosts the program in the KDLF studio. Also, Dan interviews the new director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, Jeremy Rosen, about the surprising lack of pardons issued to federal prisoners by President Obama. Also, State Representative Ruth Ann Gaines joins Dan to talk about the achievement gap in education.

Ed Fallon, "People need to be thinking of what changes they can make in their own life."

Ed Fallon, “People need to be thinking of what changes they can make in their own life.”

The Fallon Forum airs live on Monday, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CST on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) or online. Join the conversation by calling (515) 528-8122. You also can hear the Fallon Forum on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday and on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Thanks!

Ed Fallon