Landowners, companies debate pipeline process and safety


Aaron Viner, Iowa Farmer Today

AgUpdate - May 6, 2022


As three carbon pipeline project proposals continue to move forward in Iowa, landowners continue to make their voices heard.


Sylvia Spalding, from Mahaksa County near Oskaloosa, Iowa, has had land along the South Skunk River in her family since 1843. One of the three proposed projects, the Heartland Greenway Project, would cut adjacent to some of her land, and she said she feels as climate change is not the primary interest of the pipeline companies.


“It’s these massive corporations and they are doing this for federal tax credits,” said Spalding. “Money is what is driving it.”


She said the lack of transparency is one of her biggest issues that is frustrating her with the process which has led to her going to the Iowa State Capitol and making her voice heard. However, she feels that hasn’t been enough.


A bill recently delayed the use of eminent domain for 8 months in Iowa, but she said many feel it isn’t acheiving the goal.


“They have to go through the process of going through easements first, so it might take that long to get to that point,” she said.


The Heartland Greenway Project is helmed by Navigator CO2 Ventures, with one of the highly touted benefits of the project for Iowa being revenue from property taxes. It’s estimated the state would receive nearly $24.5 million in property taxes annually, Navigator CO2 said, as the company works through its easement acquisition phase. The planned start to construction is set for 2024.


They also project 17,045 construction jobs at the pipeline’s peak construction and a net farm income growth of $121 million in the first 10 years of the pipeline.


Navigator CO2 said on their website that they understand the concerns of landowners and share the same desires to keep the land healthy and productive for years to come.


“Navigator CO2 Ventures will address each affected landowner’s specific circumstances during easement discussions,” the company says. “We are committed to returning the land to its pre-construction conditions or better.”


Other Iowans, such as Nevada farmer Bill Couser, are touting the other benefits of the carbon pipelines and say that these projects will do a lot for the farmers who may have their land impacted. Couser called the pipelines the “future of ethanol,” in a letter to Iowa Farmer Today and hopes people are able to see it can boost the state’s economy.


He cited the nearly 30 ethanol plants that have already signed onto the Summit pipeline project, noting it will allow Iowa ethanol to meet more environmental standards that states such as California have in place. That means more demand overall...