DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — Nearly 200 people gathered Tuesday on the steps leading up to the Iowa Statehouse, demanding protections for landowners who don’t want a carbon sequestration pipeline to tunnel underneath their land.
“This is an impressive crowd!” Kim Junker, a Grundy County farmer, yelled as she stood before the people assembled in front of her. “We cover every corner of this state. And we’re here to say that it’s time that our elected officials work for us and stop their carbon pipelines.”
Three different companies have proposed building pipelines that would travel through Iowa and several other states. The pipelines would carry carbon produced by ethanol plants and transport them to an out-of-state storage facility. The companies maintain that the projects would benefit the environment by trapping the carbon, providing compensation to land owners in the pathways, and making the ethanol industry more economically viable in the future.
But Junker and other opponents don’t believe that a private company should be able to use eminent domain if it is unable to reach voluntary settlements with property owners for the pipeline’s access through their land.
Legislators are discussing different plans that would either block the use of eminent domain for these types of pipeline projects or make the companies adhere to a series of guidelines that could make it more challenging to build pipelines with significant landowner opposition. There are nearly two dozen Republicans who have signed on as co-sponsors of such a proposal in the house.
“Small numbers…properly focused can make a difference. So remember that every time you do this,” said state Representative Mark Thompson, a Clarion Republican.
But neither Senate Republican leadership nor Governor Kim Reynolds has publicly called for similar changes.