The Hancock County Board of Supervisors began a debate on the need for a zoning ordinance for the purpose of regulating and restricting the use of land for transporting hazardous liquid through a liquid pipeline.
Several members of the audience spoke out against the pipeline citing safety concerns. Their concerns were well founded because of a pipeline break in Mississippi that sent 46 people to the hospital and briefly overwhelmed local emergency personnel.
Supervisor Gary Rayhons heard the comments of Hancock County citizens and offered a frustrating viewpoint.
Hancock and Winnebago County Emergency Management Coordinator Andy Buffington has grave concerns about the ability of local emergency personnel such as understaffed paramedic and EMT teams in both counties being able to respond to a disaster that can be created by a broken line.
Rayhons reiterated the dangers involved and what resources the county had to handle an emergency such as a broken pipeline.
Supervisor Sis Greiman also had concerns as to how much carbon could actually escape from the lines, and because it is heavier gas than oxygen, it will stay low to ground potentially forming a gas cloud like the accident in Mississippi.
The board will look into appearing before or writing the Iowa Utilities Board who will determine in January whether Summit Carbon Solutions can be considered a utility and if they can exercise eminent domain on landowners.
In the meantime, State Representative Henry Stone who represents the Forest City area has been proactive on stopping eminent domain procedures.
Stone and his colleagues first want to define what is a utility then he says they are going to tackle the domain code.
Meanwhile Hancock County officials are listening closely to their constituents and acting accordingly to the situation.