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Sen. Chuck Grassley on North Iowa pipeline plans: 'I am for carbon capture'

Chuck Grassley at Surf for Rotary

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) talks to the media after participating in a Q&A session at a Rotary Club meeting in Clear Lake on Thursday.

On Monday, Sept. 20, Summit Carbon Solutions and the Iowa Utilities Board held a public informational meeting at North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City to discuss plans for a potential carbon emissions pipeline that would run through 27 miles in Cerro Gordo County as well as parts of Floyd, Franklin, Hancock and Wright counties.

To make the project possible, the company, based in Ames, has partnered with over 30 ethanol facilities in five states, including Golden Grain Energy in Mason City

During a phone conversation on Monday afternoon, Sen. Chuck Grassley said that he supported carbon capture plans as a way to address global warming.

"One of the ways to hit at global warming is to make sure we’ve got good carbon sequestration whether that’s done by pipeline, it’s collected and stored someplace, or it’s done by carbon sequestration by farmers farming," Grassley said. 

When asked about whether or not eminent domain would be appropriate for such a project, the seven-term senator from Iowa didn't directly answer the question (describing it as a state issue) but did say that, under the U.S. Constitution, "no state can deprive a person of his property without just compensation."

The process of eminent domain involves a government body expropriating private property, without permission from the owner, with compensation.

Economic recovery

In the same chat, Grassley was asked about the ending of federal unemployment benefits for millions of Americans earlier this month. The most senior Republican senator had said previously that such benefits incentivized people to stay home rather than find work. 

However, since June, when Iowa ended its pandemic benefit programs, numerous businesses around the North Iowa area have continued to keep "help wanted signs" up in their storefronts. 

"The federal government has poured so much money in the economy and what went to individuals there’s still a lot of it that isn’t spent," Grassley said. "And there still may be a lot of people that feel that they aren’t hurting enough, needing a job yet."

The 88-year-old Grassley then expressed concern about Congress passing an infrastructure bill that would include child care and family leave benefits without work-related requirements. 

Border patrol

Within the past week, photos emerged from Del Rio, Texas, that showed U.S. Border Patrol agents pursuing Haitian migrants on horseback. Vice President Kamala Harris said that the images evoked times of slavery in America and that there needed to be consequences for the agents seen in the photos.

Grassley disagreed.

"Should we find fault with people that are hired in an agency that’s supposed to control our borders and not allow people to come to this country in violation of our laws?" Grassley asked. "Should they be called to order for that? I don’t think so."

In July, Haiti's president, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated by foreign mercenaries. In August, the island nation experienced an earthquake that killed at least 2,000 people. Per the Associated Press, thousands of Haitians have been stuck in Texas since 2016 when the Obama administration halted a policy that allowed Haiti migrants into the country on humanitarian grounds.

While talking about immigration issues over the weekend, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) said that Fox News host Tucker Carlson's comments about replacement theory (that Americans are being replaced by "obedient people from far-away countries") were correct.

The phrase "great replacement" has its roots in the writings of French writer Renaud Camus who suggested that mass migration to Europe from Africa and the Middle East amounted to a kind of genocide of white people. In 2019, when a gunman killed dozens of people at two mosques in New Zealand, his manifesto used the word "replacement" multiple times while talking about "white genocide."

When asked about a member of his own party talking about replacement theory, Grassley had this to say: "(It) doesn’t matter whether you're white, black, whatever colors you have. You’re a human being and you’ve got to be treated like a human being."

Jared McNett covers local government for the Globe Gazette. You can reach him at Jared.McNett@globegazette.com or by phone at 641-421-0527. Follow Jared on Twitter at @TwoHeadedBoy98.

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In his life, longtime Mason City resident Hob Mason played with Count Basie, hung out with B.B. King and was a Bandfest grand marshal. He also cut a rarer-than-rare record that can now fetch at least $75. 

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