Sen. Jeff Taylor. (IA Legislature photo)

A state senator who’s proposed five different bills in response to proposed carbon pipelines says the current regulatory process is unfair to landowners.

Senator Jeff Taylor says the bill most likely to pass would require that developers get voluntary access to 90% of the land along the pipeline route before state regulators could grant permission to seize the rest through eminent domain.

“The Iowa Farm Bureau has endorsed the 90% bill,” Taylor says. “It’s probably seen as more of a reasonable compromise by Republicans who are leery of interfering for various reasons into the existing process.”

Taylor is a Republican from Sioux Center in Sioux County- where the proposed Summit pipeline would pass through. Taylor says since Summit is owned by major GOP donor Bruce Rastetter and former Governor Terry Branstad was an advisor to the project, it’s been “political uncomfortable” at times to raise concerns.

“These pipelines, carbon capture, helping the ethanol industry, it’s a priority for a lot of my Republican colleagues,” Taylor says. “I’m not against the pipelines per se, but it matters how we do things and I think we’re going about this the wrong way.”

Taylor says there’s no guarantee the legislature will take any action on the issue.

“I think some of my colleagues would just like us to sit back and let the process take its natural course, but that’s what I object to,” Taylor says, “because I don’t think the natural course is constitutional or fair to the landowners who are affected.”

Dan Tronchetti lives near Paton in Greene County. The Summit pipeline would pass through one of his fields and be within 1200 feet west of his front door. He’s frequently at the Iowa Capitol, outlining his objections to having his land seized for the project.

“I’ve been forced to come out of my comfort zone and become a political activist,” he says.

According to Tronchetti, the contract Summit presented him suggests he could be sued if his combine or farm equipment damages the pipeline buried four feet below ground.

“Bottom line is that I don’t feel like I have liability protection,” he says, “and that if the pipeline company says that I caused an issue that I could end up losing the farm either by a court judgment or to pay attorney fees to defend myself.”

Tronchetti says if the pipeline passes through his farm, he may make a 75 foot wide strip of land on top of and on both sides of the underground pipeline a no-go zone rather than plant corn or soybeans on it.

Radio Iowa