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Landowners share concerns over potential carbon dioxide pipelines in Iowa

The Heartland Greenway is just one pipeline that will cross through Iowa, permanently storing carbon dioxide underground instead of escaping into the atmosphere.

ANKENY, Iowa — Multiple proposed carbon dioxide pipelines would run through dozens of Iowa counties. 

The proposed Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline, Navigators CO2 Ventures' Heartland Greenway pipeline and ADM/Wolf Carbon Solutions' Mt. Simon Hub pipeline have brought debates to Iowa communities, with some concerned over land ownership, environmental effects and safety.

The Iowa Utilities Board and Navigator held an informational meeting on DMACC's Ankeny campus Wednesday for the Heartland Greenway Pipeline. 

Informational meetings are required by Iowa law in order for projects like pipelines to apply and eventually be approved.

With the Heartland Greenway Pipeline still seeking approval for a permit, the informational meetings are a way for communities to voice their concerns, support or questions over the project.

"I also am very concerned with the safety of it. I mean this is a very new and unknown process for Iowa," said Beth Klahsen, a Polk County landowner.

The Heartland Greenway Pipeline aims to take carbon dioxide emissions from 21 ethanol and fertilizer processors across five states and permanently store 15 million metric tons of carbon dioxide more than a mile underground in central Illinois every year. 

That's like putting 3 millions cars worth of emissions underground. 

To accomplish that feat, over 800 miles of pipeline carrying tons of liquid carbon dioxide would run through Iowa — a number that brings up safety and environmental concerns.

"Iowa is the breadbasket of the world. If we keep putting pipelines under our valuable soil, how are we going to feed the world in the future?" said Margaret Glasscock, another Polk County landowner.

Navigator is offering easements for landowners that will see the pipeline travel through their property. Easements often allow landowners to stay on their land while still allowing companies to use it for projects such as building a pipeline.

If landowners decline the easement, Navigator has the option of eminent domain. Eminent domain allows for the government to take control of the land, often for public benefit. Landowners receive financial compensation in return.

RELATED: Iowa landowners protest use of eminent domain for carbon pipelines

In Clay County, a lawsuit and countersuit are underway between a landowner and Navigator, as reported by Reuters

While a landowner can choose to accept or deny an easement, the threat of eminent domain is always there if states and federal permits are approved. 

In the case of Summit Carbon Solution's Midwest Carbon Express Pipeline, they have recently secured over 50% of their proposed routes through easements. According to Summit Carbon Solution, they have given over $80 million to landowners through easements.

If everything goes to Navigator's plans, the Heartland Greenway project will be fully functional and operational by the second quarter of 2025. 

The Polk County Board of Supervisors is weighing whether or not to oppose the project and will vote in a upcoming meeting. It hasn't been decided when that will be, according to their office. 

For a map of the proposed route of the Heartland Greenway Pipeline, click here.

RELATED: Carbon pipeline opponents condemn ‘hazardous’ project

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