Nevada, Iowa. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, Photolibrarian / Flickr
by Emma Schmit and Phoebe Galt
The Midwest has become a new frontier in a battle against carbon pipelines. Corporations are moving fast to cash in on the fossil fuel industry’s latest bogus climate solution. Central to pipeline developers plans: Iowa. With these projects, Iowa could see 1,930 new miles of hazardous pipeline laid across 57 counties. If these companies get their way, two proposals alone would almost double the length of CO2 pipelines in the U.S.
On top of that, they’re scheming to build through private lands under eminent domain, with no need for landowners’ permission. This would introduce explosive health risks to communities — for example, a ruptured pipeline can leak deadly amounts of odorless CO2 for miles. But across Iowa, local governments are taking a stand.
See how your county is fighting back.
What Power Do Local Governments Have?
Carbon pipelines are dangerously under-regulated. They rely on minor state-level approvals and limited federal permits to secure eminent domain authority and start construction. But local governments have an important role to play.
County Boards of Supervisors are charged with protecting the health and safety of their communities and their constituents. They have a crucial role to play in stopping carbon pipeline construction. From zoning restrictions to political leverage, inspector hiring to Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) docket intervention, they have plenty of tools at their disposal.
Counties are also taking legal action against the carbon pipelines. For example, legally binding ordinances would place strict parameters on pipeline construction. Under the Model Ordinance drafted by Food & Water Watch put forward to Supervisors in all impacted counties, they can decide how far away from hospitals, schools and homes pipelines must be built. They can also require specific emergency response service capacity before pipelines can operate. With these decisions, local governments wield critical power to keep their constituents safe.
More Than Half Of Impacted Iowa Counties Object to Carbon Pipelines
Summit Carbon Solutions is the first company to move through the IUB permitting process. The company is behind the proposal for the world’s largest carbon pipeline (2,000 miles), a third of which will pass through Iowa. Texas-based Navigator CO2 Ventures is behind the second pipeline, proposed to cover roughly 1,300 miles, two-thirds of which would pass through Iowa. ADM/Wolf are behind a third 350-mile pipeline.
The IUB docket for Summit’s project is already chock-full of formal objections from County Boards of Supervisors. Local governments are joining their constituents in submitting official opposition statements to the IUB, which will decide the projects’ fate. The message is clear — dangerous carbon pipelines are unwelcome in Iowa.
As of September 14:
- 70% of all Iowa counties impacted by carbon pipeline proposals have submitted formal objections.
- 60% of counties impacted by Wolf have submitted formal objections.
- 80% of the Iowa counties impacted by Summit have submitted formal objections.
- 52% of Iowa counties impacted by Navigator have submitted formal objections.
Will Pipelines Affect Your County?
A staggering swath of Iowa counties is going to be affected by the push for planned pipelines. Objections? They have more than a few.
We Need Everybody On Board: Add Your Voice
We need to use every tool in our toolbox to fight these pipelines. Whether or not your county has yet submitted a formal objection, you can ask them to pass a Model Ordinance that will protect your community. Call on your county supervisors to do their part and stand up to these dangerous projects now:
Tell Your County Supervisors: No CO2 Pipelines in Iowa!