Navigator CO2 map.

Five northeast Iowa counties are hiring an attorney to respond to development of a carbon capture pipeline.

Navigator’s proposed Heartland Greenway pipeline would run through 33 Iowa counties, covering about 800 miles. Delaware County Supervisor Shirley Helmrichs says it makes sense to unite with neighboring Bremer, Butler, Emmet and Floyd Counties.

“It’s going to be a more realistic, more responsible way of spending money through a collaborative effort just because we don’t have to do all of our own work. Basically they’re doing the same work for all of us,” she says. “I think that’s going to work well for us because we’re counties of similar size and the pipeline would potentially be looking at going through all of us.”

The boards have hired Timothy Whipple, a Des Moines attorney who specializes in work with government boards. “His representation is to assist with the drafting of any future ordinances and whatever representation we might need in Utility Board hearings,” Helmrichs says.

The counties are filing what’s called a petition to intervene. Helmrichs says it would ensure the county is part of any government proceedings or public meetings about the Navigator pipeline.

“It’s not an ordinance, but it allows us to be in Utility Board hearings and be able to have, basically, a seat at the table,” she says. “…We’re working on getting an inspector — this is in our petition to intervene, that if we need more than one and definitely we would need more than one. In past history, if you needed one, they were 10 miles down the line and that’s not OK for our landowners. We’re trying to be proactive.”

It appears the pipeline route through Delaware County impacts up to 80 property owners. “We really feel it’s important to keep doing what we can for our landowners that will be affected and ultimately this will affect everybody because it’s a land use issue, It’s a right to own your own property and not be fearful of what’s going to happen to it,” Helmrichs says. “There’s people that would like us to do more and there’s people that would like us to not to much of anything.”

Navigator’s proposed pipeline would collect carbon from ethanol and fertilizer plants and would run through Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and end in Illinois, where the carbon would be stored underground.

(By Janelle Tucker, KMCH, Manchester)

Radio Iowa