Judge tosses Iowa Water Works case
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) against three drainage districts in Northwest Iowa, prompting a huge sigh of relief from many in the agriculture sector.
The claim, citing the federal Clean Water Act, was dismissed for lack of standing considering the drainage districts’ limited status under Iowa law. U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Strand for the Northern District of Iowa, held that the state legislature was the proper venue to address issue.
“Here, DMWW asserts that it has two property rights: (1) the right to obtain clean water from the Raccoon River, and (2) the right to use its treatment plant and facilities without impairment from pollutants discharged into the Raccoon River,” Strand said. “Even if these could be considered cognizable property rights under state law, DMWW holds those rights as a public entity, making them public property rights not protected by the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause. Moreover, based on the federal law authorities cited by the Iowa Supreme Court, a public entity such as DMWW cannot assert a Fifth Amendment takings claim against another political subdivision of the state. For these reasons, DMWW has no cognizable claim....”
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