A bill scheduled for debate in a Senate committee Wednesday that would take away the Iowa Utilities Board’s power to grant eminent domain to private companies, so land may be seized for carbon pipelines and similar projects has died in committee. Four area counties and a number of local farms are affected by the defeat of the measure. There were not enough votes to bring it to debate.
Senator Jeff Taylor, a Republican from Sioux Center, was the bill’s sponsor.
Jeff Boeyink is a lobbyist for Summit Carbon Solutions, the company that’s hired former Governor Terry Branstad to promote its carbon pipeline. Boeyink says changing the rules for eminent domain would send the message that Iowa’s regulatory climate is unstable.
Iowans who’ve been notified their property is along the proposed routes for carbon pipelines spoke at an hour-long Senate subcommittee hearing on the bill on Tuesday.
Dan Tronchetti owns a farm near Paton in Greene County.
Kathy Stockdale of Iowa Falls held up a map showing the route for a proposed pipeline would pass through the middle of her farm.
Republican Senator Craig Williams of Manning voted to advance the bill out of subcommittee, but he told pipeline critics it’s difficult to retroactively change regulations.
Republican Senator Mike Klimesh of Spillville says the bill as currently written was too broad.
But Klimesh says the issue merited more discussion and that’s why he also voted to make the bill eligible for consideration in the Senate Commerce Committee.
With the defeat of the measure, it is now up to the Iowa Board of Public Utilities on whether the pipeline can go through. It will affect portions of Hancock, Cerro Gordo, Worth, and Franklin Counties locally should the project be approved by the state utilities board.