The Iowa Utilities Board’s (IUB) public evidentiary hearing on Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed carbon capture pipeline concluded on Wednesday evening, November 8, in Fort Dodge, marking the finish of the longest public hearing held by the IUB.
Upon the conclusion of witness testimony and closing of the arguments, the IUB made the uncommon decision to grant into the record the additional 83 days of comments that had been filed prior to and through the conclusion of the hearing. This move allows hundreds of additional public comments to become part of the proceeding. The decision came after 26 days of hearing in which the IUB took unprecedented steps to allow landowners and other interested Iowans to represent themselves and speak on their own behalf.
Over the hearing’s eight weeks, the IUB heard from dozens of scheduled witnesses and more than 100 landowners who chose to testify. In addition to reaching out to landowners affected by the pipeline route, the IUB relaxed its rules within the hearing to allow those affected landowners to represent themselves without seeking to join the proceeding as an intervenor.
Summit Carbon waived its right to call rebuttal witnesses. The record in Docket No. HLP-2021-0001 is now closed. To date, the IUB has processed more than 7,600 filings in the docket, including nearly 2,000 regular exhibits and 200 hearing exhibits. In comparison, the 2015 Dakota Access pipeline hearing lasted 11 days and had 69 witnesses testify, and it yielded nearly 4,000 filings and 300 total exhibits.
“We appreciate all those who sacrificed time, resources, and effort in participating in what the Board believes has been its most open and transparent hearing process,” IUB Chair Erik Helland said.
The IUB will issue an order with a briefing schedule. Once the parties’ briefs are filed, the IUB will begin to deliberate on the application. The IUB has the option to grant the permit, grant it with modifications, or deny the permit. There is no deadline for the IUB to issue its final decision.