DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — Iowa lawmakers passed through a bill that aims to protect private property owners from eminent domain use by carbon pipeline companies.
The bill was voted through the House floor early Wednesday afternoon after a 73 to 20 vote. The bill would require companies to get to 90% voluntary easements on the land required for the route, before eminent domain could be applied.
At least three developers are proposing carbon dioxide pipelines across the state. Last month Summit Carbon Solutions had agreements with 60 percent of landowners along the proposed route. The 600 mile long pipeline would connect several ethanol plants to a carbon dioxide storage facility in North Dakota.
The debate had House Democrats and Republicans disagreeing with each other on advancing the legislation, with some worried this bill doesn’t do enough.
“We are long past policy on this, on House File 565, it’s pure politics and the effect is to divide people. It undermines the role of the utility board, it is not going to appear on the floor of the Senate, and even if it did the governor will not sign, in my opinion,” said State Representative Ross Wilburn, (D) District 50 from Ames.
“The one thing every person in that room agreed to was not wanting the pipeline. They were all opposed to the pipeline and that is why I am voting yes on this bill.”
A couple amendments were introduced, and voted down. A Republican lawmaker wanted to add more protections for landowners and the other 10% of people who were on the route.
“Today we have the ability to give 100% of Iowans who live along the pipeline the respect they deserve. Not just 90,” said State Representative Norlin Mommsen, (R) District 70 from DeWitt.
But at the end of debate, getting some type of protections passed for these landowners is what lawmakers voted on.
“If these pipeline projects are essential to ethanol and agriculture, let them be built through voluntary easements and not by allowing the blunt force of government to be used to shatter this fundamental birth right we all share as Americans,” said State Representative Steven Holt, (R) District 12 from Denison.
But to even get this bill signed into law it will need to pass the Iowa Senate. The same bill failed to get out of a senate subcommittee just one month ago.