More than one dozen people addressed the Iowa Utilities Board today, asking regulators to block the use of eminent domain by companies seeking to seize land for carbon pipelines in the state.
Kathy Stockdale of Iowa Falls said two of the proposed pipeline routes go through her family’s Hardin County farm.
“Whatever happened to our private property rights?” she asked. “…When does, ‘No,’ mean no?”
James Norris of Red Oak said one of the proposed pipelines would pass behind his house in Montgomery County. “We’re here because greed has come knocking on our door,” Norris said. “…Board members, you are at a crossroads. We invite you to join us on this issue, to stand with us, this diverse group of Republicans, Democrats, and independents who oppose this boondoggle.”
Sherri Webb and her siblings were notified nearly a year ago that the proposed Summit pipeline would go through the farm that’s been in their family for 122 years. “It has become very clear that Iowans, especially landowners and farmers, do not want this,” she said. “Seventy percent of the landowners and farmers have refused to sign easements with Summit. I will guess it will be the same with Navigator and ADM/Wolf. Thirty-four counties have objected to the pipeline projects for various reasons: eminent domain abuse, damage to the land, public money usage and more.”
Jessica Wiskus lives near Lisbon and her farm is on the proposed path of the Wolf Carbon Solutions project. She raised concerns about the danger of pipeline ruptures. “You’ve heard the comments,” Wiskus said. “We are the living heart and the conscience of this state.”
Johnson County Supervisor Jon Green spoke and called the process a “sham,” and he said what is not known is how regular Iowans will react to it. Green said there will be no public benefit and the pipelines will transfer public goods to private gains. “There is another unintended consequence. The abuses of this process is catalyzing an unlikely alliance of opposition. It is my intention to do all that I can in support of this alliance. What is happening here will galvanize opposition to the reckless capture of our state government by private parasitic interests,” Green said.
After speaking during the public comment period of the Iowa Utilities Board’s regular meeting, the group of pipeline opponents formed a caravan and drove by the governor’s mansion as a form of protest. Utilities Board officials say today’s comments will not be part of the agency’s official record as it considers the pipeline applications, but written comments can be submitted and those will be documented.