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Iowa county passes law putting restrictions on CO2 pipeline projects
Iowa county passes law putting restrictions on CO2 pipeline projects 2h

In Shelby County, Iowa, the board of supervisors put limits on companies proposing controversial carbon capture pipelines on Tuesday.

Three companies want to build pipelines across the Midwest. The proposed route by Summit Carbon Solutions would pass through Shelby County.

From health concerns to property rights, these farmers and landowners all have their reasons for going against this CO2 pipeline project.

“It would decrease the resale value of the land because now you would have a hazardous pipeline buried on your land. It will impact farming for years to come,” said Mary Powell, whose family owns a farm in Shelby County.

In a unanimous decision, the county board passed a new law that makes it harder for companies to pass a CO2 pipeline through the region.

“We’ve amended our zoning ordinance that we have in place now, our comprehensive plan, to include hazardous pipelines,” said Steve Kenkel, the chairman of the Shelby County board.

That means you now have to get county-approved permits to build and stay certain distances away from homes, farms, cities and schools. It tacks on a whole litany of requirements that throw a wrench in Summit Carbon Solutions’ pipeline plan, which currently needs easements on private property to succeed.

“We will check the boxes if they’re following the ordinance, following the setbacks that we have in place,” said Kenkel.

Summit Carbon Solutions, which has already signed 1,600 easement agreements with 900 Iowa landowners, could take this new ordinance to court.

“If you look at Iowa law, I think it’s very clear that the Iowa Utilities Board has the authority to regulate pipeline projects and projects like ours. Those regulations will pre-empt ordinances passed on the county level,” said Jesse Harris, a spokesperson for Summit.

The Shelby County law is the first of its kind in the State of Iowa. Activists hope it can impact the discussion on CO2 pipelines in the future.


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