Rep. Steven Holt. (IA Legislature photo)

A House committee has approved a bill to require that developers get permits from every other state other along proposed carbon pipeline routes before construction could begin here. Representative Steven Holt, a Republican from Denison, is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Why would we want construction of this pipeline to take place in Iowa and have our valuable farmland disrupted if it ultimately is never completed?” Holt asked.

The bill was approved last night by Holt’s committee on a 12-7 vote. It outlines how farmers could file claims if tile lines are damaged or the topsoil from cropland displaced by the pipelines isn’t restored. The bill also would require voluntary participation from property owners along 90% of the route before state regulators could grant the pipeline companies authority to seize the rest of the land.

“As I’ve stated over and over, this is about our landowners who were there first,” Holt said.

Pipeline developers and the renewable fuels industry oppose the bill. Representative Bobby Kaufmann, a Republican from Wilton who voted for the bill, said private property rights are worth protecting.

“This legislation is not anti-agriculture. This legislation is not anti-ethanol, period!” Kaufmann said. “I’m going to spend the rest of my adult life relying on the price of corn for my survival. The last thing that I personally would do would be to do something to harm agriculture.”

During last night’s committee meeting, Representatives Megan Jones of Sioux Rapids and Megan Srinivas of Des Moines announced they would not vote on this or any other bills dealing with the pipelines. Both said their families may have a financial stake in the pipelines since the routes pass through their land and the companies offer compensation for those easements.

Radio Iowa