Ex-U.S. Rep. Steve King threatens lawsuit over carbon pipelines

DES MOINES Former Iowa Congressman Steve King says he’s in talks with three law firms about filing a lawsuit to try to block construction of carbon pipelines. King filed paperwork Monday with the Iowa Utilities Board to be on record as an opponent of the projects.

“We already know what the (Iowa) Utilities Board is going to do. They have their marching orders. They’re going to carry them out. We need to fight them every step of the way,” King told Radio Iowa. “While we’re doing that, we need to build the case to get to the United States Supreme Court.”

King indicated he’s aware law firms are already representing landowners and county officials opposed to the pipelines in state court, but King said the focus should be overturning a 2005 U-S Supreme Court decision. That ruling said private property can be claimed for a private economic development project through the government’s eminent domain process.

“It’s a 78% issue by The Des Moines Register (Iowa Poll) and another poll across every demographics of politics and age and gender opposed to using eminent domain to condemn private property for private gain,” King said. “Why? Because leadership is all on the other side of this.”

One of the carbon pipeline developers is Bruce Rastetter, who backed Republican Randy Feenstra’s successful 2020 bid to unseat King after King was rebuked by GOP leaders for published remarks about white supremacy. Rastetter’s Summit Carbon Capture Pipeline, along with two other developers, may qualify for up to 100 billion in federal tax credits over the next decade.

“The federal government writes a check to Bruce Rastetter or Larry Fink, the CEO of Black Rock (a partner in the proposed Navigator pipeline), or the head of the Wolfe Pipeline project over in eastern Iowa and Illinois,” King said. “It’s outrageous and there’s no possible way the taxpayers will ever see a return on their investment.”

A spokesperson for Summit Carbon Solutions was not immediately available for comment.

On Saturday, King met in Fort Dodge with over 150 people from Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas who are opposed to the carbon pipelines and he said some of them indicated they would be willing to join a class action lawsuit against the carbon pipeline developers. In 2005, King successfully sued in state court to require Iowa officials print election materials in the English language only. That ruling was recenty overturned, but may be appealed by the secretary of state. In 2012, King threatened a lawsuit over an Obama Administration policy for undocumented immigrants, but never filed one.