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2 Woodbury County supervisors object to Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 6:18 PM CST
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - For Rocky De Witt, the fifth district supervisor for Woodbury County, his opposition to the Carbon Solutions pipeline boils down to land rights. He worries about what could happen to landowners if the pipeline company receives eminent domain rights from the state.

“Many property owners have approached me (and) approached the rest of the board members on their opposition to what they’re afraid of. They’re afraid of the realities you know like losing the easements, losing property rights (and) just the potential devaluation of their land,” said De Witt.

But Summit Carbon Solutions says the pipeline will actually help local farmers by transporting captured carbon dioxide, a by-product of ethanol production.

“And so we think that this project goes a long way in potentially extending the life of the ethanol industry, and keeping that demand for corn and hopefully the price of a bushel corn strong in the state of Iowa,” said Jimmy Powell, COO of Summit Carbon Solutions.

Some environmental groups think ethanol should be replaced with greener options. De Witt also isn’t pleased with a letter sent to some landowners from former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. In the letter, Branstad doesn’t disclose he’s a senior policy advisor for Summit Carbon Solutions. A company spokesman dismisses the criticism and said the letter is on Branstad’s letterhead with Branstad’s contact information. Branstad says in the letter that carbon capture is a safe and efficient way to reduce harmful emissions.

“I was a little disappointed that the former governor didn’t take landowners’ rights (seriously), you know, (it) just doesn’t quite sit well,” said De Witt.

The Woodbury County Board of Supervisors will vote next Tuesday on whether the county will send a letter of opposition to the Iowa Utilities Board. If three of the five supervisors vote to lodge the objection, it will be formally lodged with the Iowa Utilities Board.

Both Supervisors De Witt and Matthew Ung expressed support for sending the objection, the pair told KTIV News 4.

“While counties do not have jurisdiction over whether a permit for the pipeline is issued, I am supportive of the county filing opposition on behalf of our property owners. It is concerning that the Iowa Utilities Board may attempt to use eminent domain to benefit investors of a particular industry, rather than to benefit a true public utility,” said Ung in a statement.

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