Pipeline permit hearing scheduled to begin Tuesday

Shelby County landowners, Supervisors will provide statements

STATEWIDE — The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) will move ahead with the August 22 public evidentiary hearing for the proposed Summit Carbon Solutions’ underground carbon dioxide pipeline permit.
Last week, several landowners and the Sierra Club of Iowa requested the Board pause the permit proceedings after the North Dakota Public Service Commission rejected a permit for the proposed pipeline route.
 Jessica Mazour, Conservation Project Coordinator with the Sierra Club of Iowa, said after the decision in North Dakota, there is no reason to rush the process.    
   “With the recent denial in North Dakota, Summit is a pipeline to nowhere. And, there are too many outstanding decisions that are critical to the outcome of the hearing. We should not be wasting our time and resources on this boondoggle,” she said.
   “IUB’s job is to protect Iowans, not Summit Carbon Solutions.”
   Summit is proposing  an underground pipeline project spanning five states, in which carbon dioxide emissions will be captured from ethanol plants, compressed, and travel the pipeline route to where it would be permanently stored underground in North Dakota. The proposed route includes 25 miles in Shelby County, and lies within 150 feet of Earling’s city limits.
 IUB stated Summit has requested the right to use eminent domain for approximately 973 parcels along the pipeline route. Landowners impacted by eminent domain, and landowners who have agreements and voluntary easements with the pipeline company, will be allowed to speak at the public hearing, which will be held at 10 a.m. at the Cardiff Events Center in Fort Dodge.
   In an earlier press release announcing the date of the evidentiary hearing, IUB stated, “Because all parties deserve a process that is open and transparent and does not unreasonably delay a decision about their interest, the IUB will begin the hearing process with testimony of landowners subject to eminent domain and provide a video livestream for the entire hearing, allowing landowners and others who are unable to attend in person to observe the hearing remotely.”
     According to the docket summary, participants in the hearing will include several water and utility companies, city and county government agencies, State Representatives, and over 700 landowners from across the state. Given the number of participants, the hearing could last for months. All material filed in the hearing docket can be found in the IUB’s electronic filing system (EFS) under Docket No. HLP-2021-0001.
   Shelby County Board of Supervisors Chairman Steve Kenkel will attend the hearing on Tuesday, and again when Shelby County landowners and the Board of Supervisors will have to be present to provide statements.
“When it’s related to our county, I will be there,” he said, noting the Shelby County Board of Supervisors’ testimony will include emergency management planning, dispersion modeling, county ordinances and setbacks, and soil compaction studies.
   Kenkel called the lack of communication and transparency the county has received from Summit “frustrating”.
“This is the only project— and it’s the largest CO2 project in the world— and they never came to the Supervisors first.”
“They never asked ‘What’s your concerns? Where would you like us to go? How can we work together?’”, he added.
Several Shelby County landowners are scheduled to provide statements, and Kenkel said they are a passionate group who are just looking for respect.
“They want respect of their rights. They want respect of their land. They want respect to know their livelihood won’t be damaged.”
He said he feels for the Shelby County landowners, because like many of them, he  lives on a multi-generational Century Farm.
“That’s what drives me. I know I can speak for the vast majority of landowners who are fighting this. They aren’t doing it for themselves, they are doing it for the next generation,” he said.
 “You take an unwritten oath when you purchase that ground from your ancestors that you will leave it in better shape than you found it. I don’t want my grandkids someday— if these things are all over our county— to wonder ‘What was Grandpa thinking?’ We have one chance to fight this.”
“I want them to know I tried.”
The hearing will be livestreamed at https://iub.iowa.gov/summit.



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