Justia Utilities Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Iowa Supreme Court
Juckette v. Iowa Utilities Bd.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court affirming the decision of the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) to grant MidAmerican Energy Company's petition for a franchise to build electric transmission lines in Madison County, some of which would run through a road right-of-way encumbering Appellant's land, holding that MidAmerican satisfied the statutory requirements for a franchise.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) MidAmerican satisfied the statutory requirement that new electric transmission lines must be necessary for a public use; (2) Iowa Code 306.46(1) provides utilities like MidAmerican with statutory authority to construct, operate, repair, or maintain their utility facilities with a public road right-of-way, including that right-of-way at issue in this case; and (3) as to the question of whether the construction of electric transmission lines within Appellant's right-of-way could result in a constitutional taking requiring compensation, this Court is evenly divided. View "Juckette v. Iowa Utilities Bd." on Justia Law
Environmental Law & Policy Center v. Iowa Utilities Bd.
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court denying Appellant's petition for judicial review of an order of the Iowa Utilities Board approving a regulated public utility's emissions plan and budget, holding that the Board erred in failing to consider certain intervenors' evidence in determining whether the "Emissions Plan and Budget" (EPB) met the statutory requirements.The utility submitted an EPB - its initial plan and budget and subsequent updates - requesting approval for operations and maintenance expenditures associated with emissions controls previously approved at four coal-fueled power plants. The Board granted several motions to intervene in the contested case proceeding, including three environmental parties. Prior to the contested case hearing, the Board approved the utility's EPB. The environmental parties petitioned for judicial review, and the district court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Board erred in rejecting the evidence brought by the intervening parties that the retirement of coal-fueled electric power generated facilities was more cost effective than the utility's plan and budget as outside the scope of Iowa Code 476.6 and thus not relevant. View "Environmental Law & Policy Center v. Iowa Utilities Bd." on Justia Law
Xenia Rural Water District v. City of Johnston
The Supreme Court held that Iowa Code 357A.2 grants cities the primary right to provide water services within two miles of of the city limits that were not already being served by a rural water district.The Supreme Court answered in the affirmative three questions certified by the federal court in this dispute between an Iowa municipality and a rural water district over the right to provide water service to disputed areas within two miles of the city limits. Specifically, the Court held (1) before amendments in 2014, a section 357A.2 rural district did not have a legal right to provide water service to portions of an area described in its county board of supervisors resolution when those portions were also within two miles of the limits of a municipality and when the municipality had not waived its rights to provide water service to the area; (2) section 357.2(4), as amended in 2014, does not exempt a rural water district from following notice-of-intent procedures when the area the district seeks to serve is within the district's boundaries; and (3) a section 504A nonprofit corporation created in 1977 did not have a legal right to provide water service anywhere within the state. View "Xenia Rural Water District v. City of Johnston" on Justia Law