State Capitol. (RI photo)

Top Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate say the 2023 legislature will consider new guidelines for pipelines that would capture and carry carbon away from Iowa’s ethanol plants.

The proposed Summit and Navigator pipelines run through areas House Speaker Pat Grassley represents. “I’ve been around here long enough to know when something really is an issue in our districts and I’ve talked to enough members as well as (people) in my own district to know that this is a real thing,” Grassley told Radio Iowa. “This is something that Iowans are frustrated about.”

Grassley suggests an outright ban on carbon pipelines is unlikely. “Sometimes it’s just: ‘Well, stop it! Make it stop,’ where we have to be thoughtful in this process,” Grassley said, “and that’s what we’re trying to do right now.”

Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver said it won’t be an easy debate. “I expect that we’ll have a thorough conversation about this. It’s something that our members have heard about back on the campaign trail,” Whitver told Radio Iowa. “And they hear from both sides — people that want the pipeline, that are excited about it, that think it’s good for our economy and our rural areas and people that are against it and so we have a lot of members that have a lot of different opinions on it.”

Whitver said there are similar debates about the siting of wind turbines and large-scale solar arrays. “Landowner rights is a key part of Republican philosophy in our platform and so we certainly want to restrict that and that’s what makes these issues difficult, you know,” Whitver said. “There are people concerned about solar farms going up. There’s also people saying: ‘Well, that’s their land. They can do what they want,'” and that’s what makes these conversations difficult and we’re coming into session to try to work through these issues.”

This fall, Grassley sent a letter to the Iowa Utilities Board, expressing concern about a waiver developers of the Navigator pipeline were seeking from current regulations about sampling and restoring topsoil in farm fields.

“When I’m talking back in my district — I know I’m not allowed to take off my speaker’s hat, but I’m going to try to — and I said: ‘I’m going to watch this very closely…I want the process to play out, but if there’s things that happen that I don’t think are up to par or not being fully transparent, I’ll weigh in,” Grassley said.

Navigator withdrew its request to reduce the amount of testing and restoration of topsoil currently required by state regulations.

This fall, during a televised debate, Governor Reynolds said she supports existing state law outlining when carbon pipeline developers would be able to seize property from unwilling landowners, but she did not comment on county ordinances which establish local rules for where the pipelines may be built.