By B.N. Frank
Carbon Capture is being touted as a new form of “green energy” despite environmental risks associated with it. Opposition to deployment is increasing throughout the U.S., including in Iowa.
Shen council passes pipeline position resolution
(Shenandoah) — Shenandoah’s City Council is the latest to weigh in on the contentious carbon pipeline issue.
By a 4-to-1 vote Tuesday evening, the council approved a resolution objecting to Summit Carbon Solution’s proposed Midwest Express CO2 pipeline, which would stretch more than 700 miles across western Iowa, including portions of Fremont, Page and Montgomery counties, carrying carbon dioxide from ethanol plants in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, and South Dakota to a storage facility in North Dakota. The resolution also opposes the use of eminent domain to acquire property for the project, which would serve 31 ethanol plants, including Green Plain’s Shenandoah facility and 11 others in Iowa. Jan Norris of Montgomery County is among the landowners impacted by the proposed pipeline. Norris urged the council to adopt the resolution, citing the dangers of transporting carbon dioxide through pipelines, and objections to using eminent domain.
“In Iowa, eminent domain gives government the power to take your property, even if you don’t want to sell it,” said Norris. “Under the Fifth Amendment, eminent domain must be used for public use, which traditionally means projects like roads and bridges. Opponents object to the use of eminent domain for this private project.”
Norris also cited Summit Carbon’s perceived lack of transparency on safety issues.
“The pipeline companies have a big problem with transparency,” said Norris. “They refuse to share the landowner list, and argued last week they don’t think the IUB should be able to consider safety information when determining whether to grant this hazardous liquid pipeline permit. They have the models–they just won’t share them with the state. And, they are refusing to file risk assessments, environmental impact studies, and even emergency response plans.”
Norris also requested that the council adopt an ordinance regulating pipeline projects. Another of the project’s vocal opponents praised the council for its stance. Page County landowner Marty Maher recently called on the county’s board of supervisors to adopt its own ordinance.
“The boards of supervisors and the cities are responsible for protecting their citizens,” said Maher. “Not the utilities board, but the county board of supervisors and the cities have that responsibility. The utilities board can only do so much. But, the responsibility falls on you folks to protect the citizens in Shenandoah–be it in Page County or in Fremont County, because a a release anywhere along the line is going to affect either one.”
Shenandoah City Administrator A.J. Lyman says the city has concerns about the project, such as safety questions that have not been addressed. Another concern involves the impact on the city’s water system.
“The proposed line would cross our raw water mains that supply water to the entire town,” said Lyman. “If there were a leak or rupture, the liquid CO2 would cause rupturing of those raw water lines. And, we would be without water for however long it took to repair that, which is a greater issue.”
Shenandoah City Attorney Mahlon Sorensen says the city has jurisdiction on projects within a two-mile radius of city limits. Councilwoman Toni Graham cast the lone dissenting vote. Graham questioned whether Green Plans officials had been contacted regarding the resolution.
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