Names of owners may be released under order

Summit Carbon Solutions wants the Iowa Utilities Board to rescind the order to release the names of companies and governments with property on the way to its $ 4.5 billion carbon capture pipeline project, saying it would force also the publication of information on farmers.

Summit, based in Ames, proposed to capture carbon dioxide emissions from ethanol plants in Iowa and four other states, liquefy the pressurized greenhouse gas, and transport it through the 2 pipeline. 000 miles to North Dakota, where it would be permanently sequestered deep underground.

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In August, Summit asked the Iowa Utilities Board to keep the names of 15,000 Iowa landowners on the planned route of the pipeline confidential. Summit needs priority landowner access to build approximately 710 miles of pipeline in 30 Iowa counties.

Steve and Karmin McShane paint a sign in opposition to a carbon capture and sequestration pipeline in Linn County.

Conservationists argue that by advocating keeping the names a secret, Summit is trying to quash attempts to organize opposition to the pipeline. But the majority of the state’s three-member utilities board agreed in November to keep the identities of individual landowners confidential, saying their right to privacy outweighed the public interest in who they are.

The board, however, ordered the release of the names of government entities and companies targeted by the project, saying they did not have the same “privacy expectations.”

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Summit, in a brief filed with the board on Monday, argued that the ordinance would force the release of information about a “vast majority” of farmers affected by the project, as their operations are often held in trust or organized in limited liability companies, partnerships and companies.

Publishing information about the trust could also disclose information about estate planning and financial management, according to the filing.

“The board should reconsider its ordinance and maintain the confidentiality of the names and addresses of business entities, the vast majority of which belong to small family farms,” ​​he said.

The company also filed a petition on Tuesday in Polk County District Court, seeking temporary and permanent injunctions preventing the utility board from disclosing information about the owner.

The board sent Summit a letter in late November saying that an objection filed by the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club days before the order included a request for public registration and could result in the disclosure of all information on landowners.

“If the injunction is not requested within 14 days, or if it is denied by the court, the documents will be released in their entirety,” wrote Jon Tack, general counsel for the council.

Jess Mazour, the Sierra Club’s conservation coordinator, said on Friday the information should be made public so landowners can join forces to protect their interests.

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“As soon as landowners know they’re not alone, that they don’t have to feel hopeless, that there are things they can do to protect their land, they don’t want to sign.” pipeline easements, Mazour said. “And Summit doesn’t want that to happen.”

Jennifer Easler, the Iowa Attorney General’s consumer attorney, joined the Sierra Club, other environmental groups and hundreds of individuals in Iowa to ask council to release the lists of Summit broadcast.

In addition to saying that landowners’ information should be confidential to protect their privacy and their “peace of solitude,” Summit said publishing the information would help its competitors.

Texas-based Navigator CO2 Ventures is proposing to build a 900-mile carbon capture pipeline in 36 Iowa counties, including some of the same where Summit’s pipeline will go. The $ 3 billion, 1,300 mile Navigator pipeline would also cross Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota and Illinois, where the carbon would be sequestered.

Navigator and Summit say their plans will help ethanol production remain viable as the country seeks to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to tackle climate change.

On Thursday, the Iowa Utilities Board ordered that Navigator’s and NuStar Pipeline, which are proposing to build an ammonia pipeline in Lee County, as well as all future pipeline projects, must file landowner mailing lists with the board of directors.

Information on individual landowners will be treated confidentially.

The board also said developers cannot begin surveying landowner properties, even with the owners’ permission, until companies have held briefings in all affected counties.

Donnelle Eller covers agriculture, environment and energy for the Registry. Contact her at [email protected] or 515-284-8457.

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