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Iowa landowners protest use of eminent domain for carbon pipelines

A bill to limit eminent domain in Iowa did not make it out of committee this week.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa landowners whose property could be seized to build pipelines protested Thursday, Feb. 17 at the state capitol building.

The State Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would take away the Iowa Utilities Board's ability to grant eminent domain rights to private companies proposing carbon pipelines throughout the state. But the bill fell out of session after it was pulled Wednesday from its scheduled committee hearing.

The eminent domain rights would give power to those private companies to take any property for public use without the owner's consent in exchange for payment or compensation.

The group of protestors and advocates marched from the West Capitol Terrace to Gov. Kim Reynolds' office and demanded SF 2160 receive a committee hearing this week, said Phoebe Galva, media relations at Food, Water & Watch.

Those against the potential pipelines believe, by allowing eminent domain rights, the state's elected officials haven't protected residents or their land.

“It’s outrageous that Gov. Reynolds and our legislature would let private corporations steal land from Iowa’s landowners and farmers for their own private gain," Food & Water Watch Senior Iowa Organizer Emma Schmit said. "Senate President Jake Chapman must stand up to this nonsense and give this bill a fair shot for a vote. We demand Chapman reassign SF 2160 to the Senate Ways & Means Committee before the week is out.”

Among the companies seeking permits from state regulators for pipelines are Summit Carbon Solutions and Navigator CO2 Ventures.

Summit's proposed pipeline was intended to capture and permanently store more than 12 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. After the CO2 is captured from ethanol plants, it gets compressed and transported via a pipeline one mile underground to the injection site. The CO2 is then stored in "highly researched geologic formations, where it will remain safely underground for millions of years," according to Summit Carbon Solutions.

Navigator's proposed carbon pipeline stretches 1,300 miles through Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. Nearly 900 miles of the pipeline would go through 36 Iowa counties.

Credit: Navigator
The green line indicates the path of the pipeline, ending at the blue circle sequestration site.

Both Summit and Navigator have each held over 30 public meetings to share information with landowners and answer any concerns.

"It sounds like (Navigator), as a private company, (has) found customers that (it wants) to provide a service to," resident Mike Ossian said during a December 2021 public Q&A. "And to provide a service, (it needs) to run pipelines through my property and other properties here, and I don't understand how that benefits myself or my neighbors or the public in general."

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