No consensus, no action on carbon pipeline regulations

DES MOINES — Senate GOP Leader Jack Whitver says there’s no consensus among Senate Republicans when it comes to regulating carbon pipelines.

“We have some people that believe they need to happen. We have some people that really want to get a bill done to restrict them,” Whitver says. “It’s just really split.”

This past March, the Iowa House passed a bill that would have forced developers to get voluntary access to 90 percent of a carbon pipeline route before the Iowa Utilities Board could trigger eminent domain authority to acquire the rest. That proposal was never considered in the Senate.

House Speaker Pat Grassley says prospects in 2024 haven’t changed much.  “I know we are having members that are having conversations with one another, but until we see a shift within this building it’s going to be really hard to move anything forward,” Grassley says.

The pipelines have become an issue in the Republican presidential campaign and some state lawmakers have become outspoken critics of the use of eminent domain for the proposed Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline.

Representative Ken Carlson, a Republican from Onawa, is a retired farmer. “I am one who benefitted from ethanol plants, there’s no two ways about it, but I can’t handle the eminent domain thing,” Carlson says. “I just can’t handle that.”

This fall the Iowa Utilities Board held a public hearing on the proposed Summit pipeline that would transport liquified carbon dioxide through 29 Iowa counties. The board has not indicated when it may decide on Summit’s construction permit. Developers of a pipeline that would take carbon from ethanol plants in Cedar Rapids and Clinton to storage in Illinois have said they intend to get voluntary easements for the proposed Wolf pipeline. Navigator cited regulatory hurdles when it announced cancellation of its proposed carbon pipeline.