Bobby Kaufman. (photo from IA Legislature)

The Iowa House has endorsed a temporary measure in response to landowner complaints about proposed carbon pipelines.

Under the proposal, developers wouldn’t be able to apply for eminent domain authority to seize property for the carbon pipelines before February 1st of next year. Representative Bobby Kaufmann, a Republican from Wilton, said it’s about ensuring the negotiation process between the pipeline companies and landowners is fair.

“This is a moratorium on the ability to schedule a hearing where condemnation authority can be granted,” Kaufman said. “…It sends a message that we’re watching. It sends a message that we have expectations of how you treat landowners.”

Representative Steven Hansen, a Democrat from Sioux City, said this doesn’t respond to landowners who have no desire to have the pipelines on their properties. “We could have addressed this head on and I don’t think we are,” Hansen said. “I think people were under the impression that we were going to deal with this, this year.”

House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst of Windsor Heights said this should be the start of the legislature’s “hard conversation” about these kind of projects.

“Land owner rights, public good definition, what kind of pipelines we want, what are the environment implications — all of the issues around this are critically important,” Konfrst said, “and we need to talk about them.”

Current regulations are too vague, according to Kaufmann. “Comprehensive eminent domain reform, which entails decisions and parameters set around the Iowa Utilities Board has been a priority of mine since I started here,” Kaufmann said. “…The IUB’s job is to follow what we prescribe and I’m open to changing that prescription and making it better.”

Representative Chris Hall, a Democrat from Sioux City, said legislators should examine proposals now that would protect landowners. “This is pushing the issue to next year specifically to, from my vantage point, avoid the politics and the passions that will come out on this issue prior to an election,” Hall said.

On a voice vote, so there’s no record of who voted yes and who voted no, the House attached the temporary moratorium to a far larger budget bill that now goes to the Senate for consideration.