Ryan Melton, the Democratic candidate in Iowa’s fourth congressional district, is opposed to construction of pipelines that capture carbon from Iowa ethanol plants.
“The big concern is that three companies are asking the Iowa Utilities Board here in Des Moines to allow them to use eminent domain to take private landowners’ land away to plant these carbon capture pipelines and we know eminent domain is not for that purpose,” Melton said during a speech on the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair.
Melton said the projects will “benefit private corporations” and the government’s eminent domain process is supposed to be used for projects that have a public purpose.
“If you do the research on this, you do the digging on this, carbon sequestration plants have closed by the multitudes because it’s a failed technology,” Melton said. “It over-promises and under-delivers.”
Melton, who lives in Nevada, is challenging Republican Congressman Randy Feenstra’s bid for a second term in the U.S. House. In a column by Feenstra that was published in several newspapers last year, Feenstra said carbon pipelines have the potential to boost the ethanol industry and ensure Iowa farmers continue to have a strong market for their corn. Melton saud the further north and west you go in Iowa, the more concerns you hear about the proposed pipelines.
“Why would you give the burden of a risk of carbon capture pipeline leak, why would you put that burden on us — on our shoulders on the ground, just so corporations could rake in massive profit from that, for a failed technology that is not a climate solution? Melton asked rhetorically at the State Fair. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
According to Melton, the focus should be on expanding wind and solar power generation to reduce the use of carbon-based energy sources.
The Feenstra campaign released a written statement in response to Melton’s appearance. “Congressman Feenstra has done exactly what he said he would do in Congress,” campaign spokesman Joe Lakin said. “He has delivered countless victories for the 4th District while representing the common sense conservative values that make our district great.”
(This posted was updated on August 17)