Landowners, activists protest the death of eminent domain proposal
Sikowis Nobiss, founder of the Great Plains Action Society, spoke Thursday against liquid carbon pipelines. (Photo by Katie Akin/Iowa Capital Dispatch)
A dozen activists and landowners gathered at the Iowa Capitol Thursday to demand the Senate resurrect a bill that would restrict access to private property for liquid carbon pipelines in Iowa.
Senate File 2160 would have prevented companies from using eminent domain, the government’s power to take private property, to build liquid carbon pipelines across Iowa farms. The bill moved through a Tuesday subcommittee, but legislative leaders did not bring up the proposal in committee. That means the bill is effectively dead after a Friday legislative deadline.
“There was enough opposition that the bill was killed before it had a public vote with the full committee,” said Sen. Jeff Taylor, author of the bill.
The Iowa Carbon Pipeline Resistance Coalition gathered Thursday to protest the decision not to move ahead with the bill. The group represents Iowa Food & Water Watch, the Sierra Club and the Great Plains Action Society, as well as land-owners — all groups opposed to proposals to build nearly 2,000 miles of carbon pipelines in the state.
“They need our land and our money to make their private profits,” Sierra Club conservation coordinator Jess Mazour said. “That is not right.”
After the bill was withdrawn, Summit Carbon Solutions executive Jake Ketzner said in a statement the company would “put a heavy emphasis on creating a mutually beneficial partnership with landowners and farmers” as the pipeline projects move forward.
The Resistance Coalition called on Senate President Jake Chapman or House Speaker Pat Grassley to reintroduce the bill later in the session, using legislative workarounds to the funnel deadline. But Republican leadership said Thursday the proposal was definitely dead.
“The bill is not workable, and it wasn’t going to fix the issues that people were bringing forward, and so that’s why they tabled the bill,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver.
Taylor, R-Sioux Center, was also skeptical any legislation would make it through in 2022. He promised to continue working on the issue next session.
“I don’t have a lot of optimism that we’re going to be able to pass legislation,” Taylor said. “I don’t think there’s the political will in either chamber to stop the use of eminent domain for these pipelines.”
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