Speaker says Iowans support House bill on pipelines
DES MOINES — House Speaker Pat Grassley says the governor and senators are likely hearing from Iowans who support the House bill to set a few new rules for carbon pipelines. “It isn’t like it just squeaked by,” Grassley says. “It did have bipartisan support.”
51 House Republicans and 22 Democrats voted for the bill last week. Those are firm majorities from both parties in the House.
House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst, who voted for the bill, says lawmakers have been talking about this issue for a year and a half. “We believe that it’s critically important that we’re listening to what Iowans say on this issue,” Konfrst says.
Grassley, the top Republican in the House, says the bill was scaled back to remove pieces that some considered to be punitive toward the pipelines and the bill now just deals with property rights. It would force developers to get voluntary easements for 90 percent of the pipeline route before asking for eminent domain authority to seize the rest. “The most important piece, I think, of this whole conversation that we need to be looking at is the fact that one of these three companies has already said they can do this without using eminent domain,” Grassley says, “so for the argument to be that these projects can’t move forward with this new threshold I think is not a sincere position.”
Grassley points to a Des Moines Register “Iowa Poll” which found 79 percent of the Iowans surveyed oppose giving developers eminent domain authority to force resisting property owners along the pipeline routes to sign contracts giving the pipelines access to their land. “Iowans support us in our position on protecting property rights,” Grassley says.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says a super majority of landowners have signed voluntary easements for the pipelines and the bill amounts to a ban on construction.