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Iowa House passes legislation restricting eminent domain use

Under House File 565, companies wanting to use eminent domain to build a carbon capture pipeline must acquire 90% of the land through voluntary agreements.

DES MOINES, Iowa — By a vote of 73 to 20, the Iowa House has passed House File 565, which restricts the use of eminent domain in Iowa

The bill requires that companies wanting to use eminent domain to construct a carbon dioxide pipeline would first need to acquire at least 90% of the pipeline's route through voluntary easements.

"78% of Iowans say no to eminent domain for these carbon capture pipeline projects. It's the constitutional, it's the popular position. And best of all, it's the right position to be opposed to eminent domain," said Senator Jeff Taylor, R-Sioux Center.

That number comes from a recent Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll

During House debate on March 22, critics of the legislation argued that while the bill does curb eminent domain use, it doesn't go far enough in addressing carbon capture pipeline construction in Iowa.

"While there are a few property owner compensation rights at the end of the day, if your concern is to stop the pipeline, this bill just doesn't do it," said Rep. Ross Wilburn, D-Ames.

One of the companies that's constructing those pipelines argued that carbon capture pipelines are critical to ethanol's future in Iowa. In a statement, Summit Carbon Solutions wrote that "Without carbon capture projects, Iowa's ethanol industry will lose $10 billion annually, and farm income would drop $43,000 for a typical 1,000 acre farm."

But the farmers who spoke in support of House File 565 said they didn't want eminent domain on their property to prop up the companies using it.

"If the ethanol industry is so fragile, why would we allow our farms to be destroyed for an industry that's on the verge of collapse?" said Kim Junker, an Iowa farmer.

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