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Wolf CO2 pipeline won’t seek eminent domain, petition states
Colorado company files permit for 95 miles of pipeline through Eastern Iowa, including Linn County
Wolf Carbon Solutions will not use eminent domain to acquire easements for a carbon dioxide pipeline through Eastern Iowa, according to the company’s permit application filed Thursday with the Iowa Utilities Board.
The decision to obtain all the land for the pipeline route through voluntary easements sets the Wolf project apart from two other proposed CO2 pipelines in Iowa, and sidesteps the most contentious aspect of the pipeline development.
“The Wolf development team has never used eminent domain in its collective careers in building long-haul pipelines and it doesn’t intend to start now,” Nick Noppinger, Wolf’s vice president for corporate development, told The Gazette.
The company has not yet signed any easement deals, he said.
“In our history of developing pipelines, we feel it’s more important to develop relationships with all the people in the right of way pathway before we start talking to them about easements,” he said. “We’ll begin negotiations on easements in the next couple months.”
Wolf’s proposal calls for collecting compressed carbon dioxide at ADM plants in Cedar Rapids and Clinton and shipping it in a 16-inch underground pipeline to ADM’s sequestration site near Decatur, Ill. Wolf wants to find other industrial clients to tie into the project, which would be eligible for up to $1 billion a year in federal tax credits.
The 280-mile project, with 95 miles in Iowa, would provide $1.1 billion in economic development for Iowa, Wolf officials said at an informational meeting Dec. 5 in Cedar Rapids. In Linn County, there would be 311 jobs during construction of the pipeline bringing in $22 million, they said.
Iowa has two other proposed CO2 pipeline projects that already have applied for permits from regulators.
Summit Carbon Solutions proposes a five-state pipeline, with 680 miles in northern and western Iowa, that would end at a sequestration site in North Dakota. The Iowa Utilities Board last week released a schedule calling for the public hearing on the Summit project to happen between October and January.
Navigator CO2 Ventures wants to build a 1,300-mile underground pipeline, with 900 Iowa miles stretching from the northwest to southeast corners of the state.
Both of those companies have asked the Iowa Utilities Board to be granted the right to use eminent domain to force easements, with compensation, from landowners who don’t sell willingly.
Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance Director Doug Neumann said in August the organization supports a carbon dioxide pipeline that would benefit ADM — one of its members — despite opposition from many landowners on the proposed route.
“We have looked at this project and our organization supports this project and only this CO2 pipeline project in Iowa at this time,” Neumann said. “To support the agribusiness economy of Iowa we need companies like ADM to be successful.”
ADM, which has been producing ethanol since 1980, operates a heavy-volume wet mill and a dry mill, as well as a cogeneration plant, just south of Highway 30 in Cedar Rapids. Besides ethanol, the company produces starches, sweeteners and animal feed.
The Cedar Rapids site employs 450, with another 200 and 300 skilled-trade contractors on site, officials told The Gazette in October.
The Wolf project has a lot of local opponents, including people who posted signs against it near Ely.
More than 150 people attended a rally Feb. 21 at the Iowa Capitol denouncing the pipeline projects. Concerns include fear of explosions, landowner rights and uncertainty about what happens after the pipelines’ 20-year life span.
Iowa House Republicans advanced House File 368, which would require CO2 pipeline companies to obtain 90 percent of the miles along their path through voluntary easements. The bill also would place a moratorium on projects until the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration develops new rules that govern the hazardous pipelines.
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