Both candidates in Iowa’s new third congressional district say they support boosting U.S. energy production, but aired their differences over wind turbines and carbon pipelines.
Congresswoman Cindy Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines, says it’s time to look at other ways to reduce carbon emissions. She says the pipelines would make a “negligible” dent in carbon output.
“These private investors, they seem to be getting all of the money and our farmers and other landowners are going to be at the short end of the stick,” Axne says. “I don’t think this is a good use of eminent domain because it doesn’t do enough for the public.”
Zach Nunn of Bondurant is the Republican running against Axne. He says carbon sequestration is “a great way” to help farmers and Iowa’s ethanol industry, but he did criticize the three companies that have unveiled carbon pipeline routes through Iowa.
“The private sector has tried to cut across people’s land, spending very little time offering fair market value,” Nunn say, “so here’s what I would suggest: always, if there’s the opportunity for a right of way, meaning an area that’s owned by the state or federal government, those should be the first priorities.”
Axne says Iowa has become a leader in wind energy and can expand that industry, but steps should be taken to ensure wind farms don’t disrupt the lifestyle of rural Iowa.
“If we can upgrade these wind turbines to address those issues that these communities are facing, whether it’s noise or whatever their concerns are, we should be able to do those types of things for them.”
Nunn says clusters of wind turbines can be “a real blight” on the landscape and create “health challenges” for people who live nearby.
“Absentee landlords, many who live in places like California and New York…are finding themselves enriched,” Nunn says, “while others have to live up the street from massive wind farms.”
The candidates made their comments tonight during a debate on KMA Radio. The new third congressional district covers 21 counties in central, southwest, south central and southeast Iowa.