116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The Linn County Board of Supervisors signed a letter on Monday opposing eminent domain for a proposed CO2 pipeline that would run through 36 Iowa counties, including Linn.
The letter, signed by all three supervisors, states that while the supervisors “understand that the careful use of eminent domain may be appropriate in certain cases for a public use, public purpose or public improvement,” the board is opposed to the use of eminent domain for the pipeline projects.
The Iowa Utilities Board is the authority over the proposed pipelines. The county does not have any authority or review capacity over the proposed project.
“We also believe that the unrestricted and inappropriate use of eminent domain threatens and undermines private property rights,” the letter reads.
Navigator CO2 Ventures, a Texas company, is proposing a 1,300-mile underground pipeline that would capture carbon dioxide at Iowa ethanol and fertilizer plants and transport it in pressurized liquid form to a sequestration site in south-central Illinois.
There, the liquid carbon would be injected into rock formations, where it would calcify and be permanently stored. The idea, which scientists say can work, would keep the carbon dioxide out of the air, where it contributes to global warming.
The Navigator project is one of two carbon capture pipelines proposed for Iowa. The other, by Summit Carbon Solutions, is a 2,000-mile pipeline through western and north-central Iowa.
“Unlike regulated utilities, the pipelines are not granted a franchise to provide service that benefits the entire public in a service area,” the letter from the Supervisors reads. “Conversely, the pipeline project will exclusively benefit private companies by enabling them to sell fuel at a premium without investing their own money, and without providing a public service.”
In December, hundreds of Linn County residents attended a meeting with the pipeline company and shared their concerns about safety, the route of the pipeline and the use of eminent domain.
The Navigator project allows the ethanol and fertilizer plants producing carbon dioxide to claim a federal tax credit worth up to $50 a metric ton for permanently stored carbon. The plants would pay Navigator a set rate for however much carbon dioxide they move through the pipeline.
The supervisor’s letter also states the board’s concern that the loss of economic value on land used by the pipelines will be long term and not temporary.
“We are worried about the proper restoration of agricultural land following pipeline construction, interference with proper drainage, the effects of pipeline construction on long-term soil health, and possible other negative environmental impacts.,” the letter reads.
Other Iowa counties, including Plymouth, O’Brien and Dickinson counties have also announced their opposition to the use of eminent domain in recent weeks.
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