Federal judge issues temporary injunction against Shelby County's pipeline ordinance
SHELBY COUNTY — A federal judge has ruled the Shelby County Board of Supervisors ordinance restricting the proposed carbon dioxide pipeline conflicts with state and federal regulations and should not be enforced.
The ruling by Chief Judge Stephanie Rose was filed July 10 in the federal Southern District of Iowa.
The ruling opinioned state law does not explicitly prohibit the Shelby County ordinance in western Iowa but that such a prohibition is implied. “State and local agencies cannot regulate safety matters,” Rose wrote in the ruling.
Judge Rose also granted Summit Carbon Solution’s request for a temporary injunction preventing the county to enforce the ordinance.
Last fall, the Shelby County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance dictating a pipeline must sit 1,000 feet away from any occupied structure, which includes a confinement feeding operation and public wastewater treatment plant, and within two miles of any city limit.
The ordinance also established emergency response plans and requires any company constructing a hazardous liquid pipeline to submit a list of structures that could be affected by an accidental leak.
The proposed Summit Carbon Solution pipeline stretches across five states, connecting ethanol plants to transfer captured carbon dioxide emissions to North Dakota for underground storage. The pipeline crosses more than 700 miles in Iowa, and will encroach the city limits of Earling.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” said Shelby County Board of Supervisors Chairman Steve Kenkel.
“We have a duty as a supervisor to protect our county. How do we do this when other levels of government won’t support counties?”
Kenkel said he is uncertain if Shelby County will appeal the decision.
Rose also stated the ordinance’s requirements for pipeline companies to submit safety plans to the county and to notify the county when use of a pipeline is discontinued, conflict with federal rules, and in issuing the temporary injunction, Rose found Summit is likely to succeed with its lawsuit against Shelby County.
“Summit Carbon Solutions is pleased the Chief Judge of the Southern District of Iowa, Judge Rose, affirmed that federal regulations and state laws preempt ordinances at the county level,” representatives from Summit Carbon Solutions said.
Summit Carbon Solution said over 70% of the landowners along the route have signed voluntary easement agreements, however, that number can not be independently verified.
“We continue to sign more [easements] daily. We look forward to continuing to work with these landowners and our 34 ethanol plant partners to advance our project through the regulatory process.”
On August 22, the Iowa Utility Board will begin a final, evidentiary hearing for Summit’s proposed pipeline.