by Dan Mundt
Letter sent to the Iowa Utilities Board
The Crawford County Supervisory Board on Monday approved a letter to be sent to the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) regarding the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline project that could cross Crawford County if approved by the IUB.
The pipeline would transport liquefied carbon dioxide (CO2) from 31 ethanol plants in the Midwest to an underground storage area in North Dakota.
In the letter, which was written by supervisor Ty Rosburg, supervisors objected to the use of the eminent domain for the project.
Prominent domain is the process by which private land can be taken for public use.
Supervisors have discussed concerns in recent months that the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline does not appear to be for public use.
In a lengthy discussion on Dec. 28, Rosburg said he supported ethanol and the purpose of the pipeline, but not the use of the eminent domain.
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“It’s no different than wanting to build a mall and using a prominent estate for it,” Rosburg said.
Supervisor Jean Heiden said people have also expressed concern about how the pipeline might be viewed as a public service.
Supervisor Kyle Schultz said he spoke to a Clay County supervisor about the pipeline on December 27.
“He is in the same boat as us – he supports him but does not support the eminent domain,” said Schultz.
Rosburg said he understands the perspective of those with environmental concerns about the project and the desire to keep the ethanol plants as “carbon neutral” as possible.
“Eventually, the regulatory system, or something like that, could incapacitate them, and then we would lose a selling avenue for our corn supply,” he said.
Rosburg said he had questions about the safety of the underground storage portion of the project.
Summit Carbon Solutions should “work things out” with farmers to use their land – rather than using a prominent estate to take the land, he said.
Supervisor Eric Skoog said that when the county instituted the “master matrix” plan to locate hog production facilities, this process removed the eminent area of options.
He said people also opposed the West Central Iowa Rural Water Association (WCIRWA) project when it was put in place.
Heiden emphasized that WCIRWA is a public service.
“This is where it gets muddy,” Schultz said. “Are they going to see it as a public service or not? If they don’t see it as a public service, why does it go to the public service board and how can the public service board occupy a prominent area? “
“I said to a gentleman who called me, ‘If you don’t want this happening on your property, don’t register,’” President Jeri Vogt said.
(Vogt was president until the end of December; Schultz now holds that title.)
Rosburg said farmers want to be able to tell if the pipeline is buried deeper than the company’s plan, and they don’t want a pipe standing in a farm field.
Schultz said he spoke to supervisors in northern Iowa who said the prominent estate was not used much for the Dakota Access pipeline project because the company greased the wheels of those who didn’t. did not want to sign.
Heiden said people don’t want to be forced to use their land for the CO2 pipeline project.
During Monday’s meeting, Rosburg asked Deputy County Attorney Martha Sibbel if the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline would qualify for use of a prominent domain.
“They… should kind of go into the public / private partnership, and that’s always a difficult argument to make in a prominent area,” she said. “It’s complicated because it’s going to be appealed every time you go public / private.”
Using a prominent estate to build a highway would be for public use only, she said.
She said the pipeline company could have looked at how Scout Clean Energy was treating landowners for their project.
Scout Clean Energy has signed contracts that exceed standard contract terms for several landowners for their wind farm project south of Westside.
In Rosburg’s letter to the IUB, he writes that the supervisors do not object to the installation of the CO2 pipeline, but “we believe that the use of the eminent domain should be reserved for the use of infrastructure. public or community services and using it to build this type of project would be an inappropriate use of this measure.
The letter asked the IUB to deny the use of the eminent domain for the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline or other pipelines deprived of hazardous liquids.
“It is this council’s opinion that private land interactions / transactions must be negotiated between the private entities involved,” the letter concludes.
Supervisors voted 5-0 to send the letter to the IUB.