Iowa locals battle over pipeline plans

August 21, 2023 by No Comments

A multitude of residents from Iowa have inundated the Iowa Utilities Board with a plethora of messages that articulate their apprehensions and viewpoints concerning the contentious proposition by Summit Carbon Solutions. This proposal entails the construction of a $5.5 billion pipeline for carbon capture, spanning a distance of 700 miles across Iowa.

On the upcoming Tuesday, the Ames-based company is scheduled to present its case before the board, initiating an extensive hearing that will span several months. The subject of this hearing is the company’s solicitation for a permit to erect the segment of the hazardous liquid pipeline within Iowa’s boundaries. In addition, the company is actively pursuing the authorization to exercise eminent domain authority, which would compel around 480 landowners to relinquish access to their properties for the implementation of the project’s objectives.

The project’s purpose involves the capture of carbon dioxide emissions emanating from ethanol and agricultural facilities across Iowa and neighboring states. These emissions would be subjected to pressurized liquefaction and subsequently transported via the pipeline to North Dakota, where they would be stored deep underground as part of the sequestration process.

The initial proposal for the pipeline has already encountered rejection in North Dakota due to resistance from landowners. Consequently, the company is in the process of revising its plan with the intention of resubmitting it to the relevant regulatory authorities in that state. Anticipating a similar level of contention, the evaluation of the pipeline’s feasibility within Iowa is poised to be equally contentious. Numerous Iowans are deeply involved in this ongoing dispute.

Summit Carbon Solutions claims to have secured voluntary agreements with approximately 70% of the landowners situated along the 700-mile stretch of the pipeline that traverses Iowa. However, among the stakeholders who have yet to reach an accord are Hayek and his father, Allen. These individuals are among the 480 dissenters whose lands Summit Carbon Solutions aims to access via the exercise of eminent domain authority.

In the preceding November, Hayek successfully secured a position on the Webster County Board of Supervisors. A significant aspect of his campaign platform was his concern regarding the potential utilization of eminent domain powers by Summit Carbon Solutions, as well as another pipeline entity named Navigator CO2 Ventures. Notably, even before Hayek joined the board, Webster County had submitted an objection to the pipeline’s implementation to the Iowa Utilities Board.

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