DES MOINES — Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy says the government should not grant carbon pipeline developers authority to seize land from Iowans who do not want the pipeline on their property.
“You have a lot of other Republicans that have been trained to behave like circus monkeys on this issue. You’re supposed to dance to the tune of certain puppet masters. I refuse to do that,” Ramaswamy told reporters in Iowa Tuesday evening. “Eminent domain should not be an option for anything to do with a carbon dioxide pipeline because it is not necessary.”
On Friday in Des Moines, Ramaswamy will appear at an event with a group of carbon pipeline opponents called the Free Soil Coalition. “Eminent domain is legally inappropriate,” Ramaswamy said tonight. “I believe it is illegal and unconstitutional and I would like for at least Republicans to have the spine to stand up and at least speak that obvious truth.”
Ramaswamy is calling on his competitors for the GOP’s presidential nomination should clearly state their views on the issue. He’s also challenging Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who has endorsed rival Ron DeSantis, to say whether she’s on the side of eminent domain or not.
“Anybody who is implicitly or explicitly supporting the use of eminent domain for this carbon dioxide capture pipeline is on the wrong side of this issue,” Ramaswamy said. “I don’t care if they have an R after their name. I don’t care if they’re a governor you’re supposed to otherwise bow down to in the state of Iowa.”
Ramaswamy called climate change “a hoax” and carbon capture pipelines “a disaster” during remarks to a crowd gathered for a campaign headquarters opening in Des Moines. He later took questions from reporters and said the issue exposes what he described as the “broken and corrupt state” of the Republican Party establishment. “And I’m frankly ashamed of a Republican Party that hasn’t had the spine to speak up about an issue that matters to this many constituents,” Ramaswamy said.
Ramaswamy also revealed he’s met with influential Republican donor Bruce Rastetter, who owns Summit Carbon Solutions. That’s the Iowa company seeking a state permit to construct and operate a pipeline to ship carbon out of ethanol plants to underground storage in North Dakota. Ramaswamy said pipeline backers are welcome to show up at Friday’s event to have “a civil, open debate” about the Summit and Wolf pipelines. Ramaswamy told reporters this evening the projects make no sense and the risks of running liquid carbon through an underground pipeline “do not match the purported benefits.”
The Iowa House passed a bill this past spring to place some restrictions on carbon pipeline development, but it was never considered in the Iowa Senate.
Former President Donald Trump was asked about the pipeline controversy in July during an event in Council Bluffs, and Trump said he would have a plan to deal with the pipelines if he wins back the White House. In August, DeSantis told a crowd in Garner that negotiation, rather than “the heavy hand of government,” is the way to solve property disputes. In September, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley told Radio Iowa she supports development of carbon capture pipelines, but landowners who don’t want the pipelines on their property should not be forced by the government to sign easements.
Ramaswamy made campaign appearances in Lake Mills, Garner and Clarion yesterday.