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The Linn County Board of Supervisors signed a letter (PDF) to the Iowa Utilities Board in opposition to the use of eminent domain by both the Summit Carbon Solutions, LLC and Navigator Heartland Greenway CO2 pipeline projects.
The Iowa Utilities Board is the authority having jurisdiction over the proposed pipelines. Linn County does not have any authority or review capacity over the proposed project. Under certain circumstances, a floodplain permit or Conditional Use Floodplain permit may be required through Linn County Planning & Development.
This is the full text of the letter signed by the Linn County Board of Supervisors on January 10, 2022 to the Iowa Utilities Board:
“Dear Board Members:
Re: Docket No. HLP-2021-0001, Summit Carbon Solutions, LLCDocket No. HLP-2021-0003, Navigator Heartland Greenway, LLC
The Linn County Board of Supervisors submits this letter in opposition to the use of eminent domain by both the Summit Carbon Solutions, LLC and Navigator Heartland Greenway CO2 pipeline projects.
While we understand that the careful use of eminent domain may be appropriate in certain cases for a public use, public purpose, or public improvement, we also believe that the unrestricted and inappropriate use of eminent domain threatens and undermines private property rights.
The use of the government's authority to take private property for a public use - to force property owners to surrender their property rights involuntarily - should be limited to projects that serve the entire public. The Summit and Navigator projects both claim that carbon capture and storage serves the entire public by promoting efforts to achieve climate goals. However, unlike regulated utilities, the pipelines are not granted a franchise to a provide service that benefits the entire public in a service area. Conversely, the pipeline project will exclusively benefit private companies by enabling them to sell fuel at a premium without investing their own money, and without providing a public service.
We are also concerned that the loss of economic value on residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural land used by the pipelines will be long-term, not just temporary. For example, we are worried about the proper restoration of agricultural land following pipeline construction, interference with proper drainage, the effects of pipeline construction on long-term soil health, and possible other negative environmental impacts.
One of our most important responsibilities as public officials is to promote the general welfare and protect the rights of others. We believe we have a duty to help protect private property rights, and respectfully request that you deny the use of eminent domain for the Summit Carbon Solutions, LLC and Navigator Heartland Greenway CO2 pipeline projects. We sincerely appreciate your attention and consideration.
Ben RogersStacey WalkerLouie Zumbach”
Download a copy of the letter (PDF).