Democrat and Republican Committees Unite to Oppose County’s Proposed Carbon Capture Pipeline

By B.N. Frank

Carbon capture is being promoted as a new form of “green energy” despite environmental risks associated with it.  Opposition to deployment is increasing throughout the U.S. particularly in Iowa (see 1, 2).

From Global Gazette:

Landowners gather to hear Democrat, Republican CO2 pipeline concerns

Rob Hillesland Summit-Tribune

Some Hancock County landowners facing impacts of the proposed Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline, many voluntary easement holdouts, may now feel armed with new information.

The county’s Republican and Democrat Central Committees jointly held an event to present reasons they are both against the project on Jan. 14 at the Duncan Community Hall.

“We probably had close to 100 people,” Hancock County Republican Chair Bud Jermeland said. “I think there were good things shared for people to make plans even if the pipeline does happen. It could help them protect themselves as much as possible. We tried to get a cross-section of people who could provide good information on different topics and I thought we were able to do that.”

Alan Bush of the Hancock County Republican Central Committee called the event an opportunity for local landowners and community members to unite in opposition to the project. He noted that the vast majority of 52 Iowa counties to be impacted by the Summit pipeline have filed objections with the Iowa Utilities Board while none have come out in favor of it.

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“There’s been zero counties that have supported this,” Bush said. “I think that’s pretty impressive.”

Bush said CO2 is a valuable commodity, noting that when it is pumped into greenhouses the plants thrive. He also noted that it is vital to industries such as dry-ice making, meat packing, and more.

“We don’t have a carbon problem,” Bush said. “You give us carbon and our plants, trees, and crops will grow. It adds value. I believe this is a world and national attempt to control our agriculture. When are we going to say enough is enough?”

Saying he has been generally supportive of Governor Kim Reynolds’ work in office, he voiced his disappointment with her on the pipeline issue.

“Governor Reynolds supports it,” he said. “I think she’s wrong on this. We don’t need our carbon depleted. There is no rational reason to do this other than monetary.”

Gruver Fire Department Chief Dan Harvey since 1991, a town fire fighter there since 1985, shared his concerns of a CO2 pipeline plume study that he and his son developed. He noted that as a farmer and landowner, the proposed Navigator CO2 pipeline is proposed to cut through his farm.

Harvey asked that no photos be taken of the plume study, which he said was for a pipeline rupture scenario independent of weather and for use by his fire department that is the largest in Emmitt County and covers a nearly 12-square-mile area.

“CO2 needs warm air and wind to dissipate,” Harvey said. “The thing here, if it breaks in the winter, it could just sit around for days.”

Harvey said a worst-case scenario would be that the gas sits there, possibly eight feet high, spreads out and causes human decline. He cited concerns that some of his fire fighters would not even be able to get out of their homes, according to the department’s plume study.

“Your towns and little fire departments will need a plume study to know where to go,” Harvey said.

Harvey said emergency responders could be unable to access areas due to combustion engine stalls amidst CO2 and a need for sufficient air packs. He claimed that training for local emergency response providers could, in actuality, be for creating situational awareness and closing off affected areas.

“These small towns, they’re not going to rush in there and help whoever needs help, if there’s a break,” he said while noting time would be of the essence.

He called it important for landowners that have not yet signed voluntary easements with the company for the proposed Summit pipeline in Hancock County to do their research and continue to hold out against it.

“The more you can keep saying ‘no’ the better off you are,” he said. “The faster they can get you people to sign, the sooner they can go to the Iowa Utilities Board.”

Lack of legal resources

State Senator Dennis Guth stood up and noted a lack of legal resources for landowners needing to make their decisions.

“A lot of it is being able to understand the contract,” Guth said. “Almost all the lawyers that deal with pipelines are already hired by the pipelines. So, you don’t have any legal advice available to you very easily.”

Guth said landowners needing help with pipeline contracts can contact Two other presenters recommended Domina Law Group (Omaha, Neb.) for landowner legal consultation. Hancock County Supervisor Chair Sis Greiman said some good attorneys were in attendance, so landowners could connect with them as well.

Kanawha farmer Doug Thompson told the crowd that the Iowa corn industry will survive with or without the carbon sequestration pipelines. He assisted rural projects for former Iowa Governor Robert Ray, flood recovery efforts for the Clinton Administration, and served on the Iowa Corn Promotion Board in the 1980s, helping grow the industry.

“Show me the money, that’s what this is all about,” Thompson said. “It’s not about saving the environment. The ethanol industry will live. There are new opportunities for ethanol to be used in jet fuel. Don’t think this is the death of the ethanol industry.”

He cited his personal concerns about the appropriation of billions of dollars for carbon demonstration and large-scale carbon projects in the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005, which he said was expanded in 2020.

“There’s a lot of money that’s pushing this, we all know that,” Thompson said. “They probably need a threshold of 75 to 85% before the Iowa Utilities Board could look at eminent domain for the rest. Is this a public utility worthy of eminent domain? Probably not, but the political Vaseline has been applied. They’re ready to move.”

Easements and eminent domain

Emmet County Zoning Board Chair Richard McKean offered similar advice to landowners holding out on signing easements with Summit.

“The Iowa Utilities Board does not want to handle thousands of (eminent domain) cases,” McKean said. “Don’t be afraid of eminent domain. If you hold out, this is going to be a major benefit for you all because, it will take years to get this thing done.”

McKean said that the proposed Navigator pipeline will impact his farm. He cited many of the things that he will be seeking, including clauses for crossing the pipeline easement area following construction, various soil impacts, construction in wet ground, and crop damages.

“It should be for as long as it takes to get the fertility back,” said McKean of crop damages. “Also, weed control. I want to be able to say what can or cannot be used. I am not going to give in to it without a fight. I’m going to eminent domain for sure.”

Senator Guth said he has received probably about 200 emails against the pipeline.

“I haven’t had one in favor of it,” Guth said. He noted that language regarding CO2 pipelines was added to Iowa Code as far back as the 1990s, saying it only adds to the legal challenges. He said property rights are key to individual rights and freedoms, which is something people should not be asked to concede.

“The whole world looks to us for leadership,” Guth said.

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics nurse epidemiologist of more than 20 years, Brenda Barr who is now retired, called CO2 pipelines a health hazard.

“This pipeline is going to be a public health disaster, if it goes through,” Barr said. “This pipeline is a very dangerous health risk to anybody that is anywhere near it.”

Barr recounted a case of minor CO2 intoxication treated in the emergency room where she worked after an accident at a dry-ice-making plant.

“Both hands were purple, so they had grabbed a pipe or dry ice with their hands,” she said. “When skin looks like that it’s not viable. It will slough off. I’m sure they had to have skin grafts later. Worse yet, was their mental state. They had no comprehension of anything. They were like deer in headlights.”

She explained that CO2 is a toxic asphyxiate, which replaces oxygen in the body and brain. She said that increased exposure levels can result in hyperventilation and deep, labored respiration. Higher levels can increase blood pressure, heart rate, and cause unconsciousness, coma, or even death in minutes, she attested.

Barr said she has researched incident and post-incident studies on the Satartia, Mississippi, CO2 pipeline break of February 2020. She said a Virginia-based Climate Center study reported that 19 months later, 49 people in that CO2 plume were still experiencing health issues such as mental fog, chronic fatigue, stomach disorders, general malaise, and more. She singled out the case of a 79-year-old woman who was found lying on the ground, fighting to stay conscious when rescued.

“She had no prior health problems,” Barr said. “Now, she is on an inhaler full-time and has declining health and quality of life.”

Barr also noted an increase in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) cases there.

“Nobody died,” she said. “That’s a true statement. Nobody died yet, but those people, their quality of life has declined since they were gassed.”

Barr also cited a decreased ability of water to filter through compacted soil in construction right-of-way areas and collect heavy metals. She said it can lead to more flooding, and runoff of the metals to farm fields, wells, and rivers.

“I asked Summit about risk assessments on this and they don’t know what I’m talking about,” she said. “They need to know how much runoff there could be and how to handle it. We need to know what we’re dealing with. My biggest concern is for the little children. They can have delayed development, irritability, vomiting, seizures, loss of appetite, and weight loss. When kids have a stomach ache, they usually still want play. They often won’t even report symptoms.”

Barr said lead and other heavy metal poisoning often develops over time in adults. It can manifest with increased blood pressure, muscle and joint pain, and abdominal pain. It can enter through the lungs, skin, or be ingested with irreversible brain and organ damage sometimes resulting.

“Until autopsy, nobody knows why,” Barr said. “I see many health problems with this whole issue.”

Aside from her public remarks, Barr said Summit’s proposed pipeline would cut right through the land at her rural Garner address about 4-5 miles south of Duncan. She said she is a landowner there of about 25 years.

“It’s going to go right through all of my pattern tiles,” Barr said.

Supervisor concerns, obligations

Hancock County Supervisor Chair Greiman noted her board’s concerns about Summit’s level of understanding of the county’s intricate drainage and tile systems. She said Summit officials that met with the board had only a cursory understanding of the county’s common drainage infrastructure. She said supervisors’ biggest concerns are damage to drainage ditches, county and public drainage systems and tiles, roads, and property. She said the county supervisors oversee more than 150 drainage districts.

In addition to construction disruptions, Greiman noted many additional responsibilities to be placed on the board and other county officials, including their county attorney position that is currently in transition. The county would likely be tasked with hiring an engineer to keep close tabs on project work overseen by a county inspector. That is because all inspections must be under the supervision of a registered professional engineer. The county board of supervisors may assign inspection duties to the county engineer, who already has full duties, or hire an outside engineer.

She said supervisors would need to determine things such as when construction should be halted due to conditions and when project construction is, ultimately, completed in the county.

“We’re probably going to have to hire another outside person because the county attorney would not have enough time if there are a lot of complaints,” said Greiman.

She said with so many old drainage systems and tiles in the county dating back even to the late 1800s, there is concern about issues arising well away from the right-of-way construction zone areas. She said they may not be addressed nor garner compensation, but cause ongoing issues.

Also, a county compensation commission may need to be established. It is the lawful recourse in Iowa for landowners or land tenants who cannot negotiate damage settlements with the company.

“We have to do all of this, so you can see why we’re a little concerned,” said Greiman.

Rob Hillesland is community editor for the Summit-Tribune. He can be reached at 641-421-0534, or by email at

Activist Post reports regularly about carbon capture, “green energy”, and unsafe technology.  For more information, visit our archives.

Image: Pixabay

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