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Utilities Board rules Summit Carbon landowners list to be confidential

After a ruling from the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB), a property owner who is impacted by Summit Carbon Solution's proposed CO2 capture pipeline might not know if their neighbor is impacted as well. 

On Tuesday, the IUB ruled in favor of Summit Carbon Solutions keeping the list of impacted landowners for its Midwest Carbon Express pipeline confidential. 

On Wednesday, the Sierra Club, an environmental activist group, released a statement claiming that Summit Carbon uses the list of impacted landowners to "harass and intimidate impacted Iowans," and are disappointed with the IUB's ruling.

There is a large contingency of people, according to the club, in opposition to the list being kept confidential. 

“It is shameful that the Iowa Utilities Board is denying the basic right to communicate to 15,000 Iowans who are threatened by the Summit pipeline," Jess Mazour, the Conservation Program Coordinator club, said in a press release. "It is shocking, the abuse that the landowners are having to endure. The Land Agents and Surveyors aren’t being honest or respectful. Without the ability to communicate with each other, landowners are at a disadvantage."

The Sierra Club's press release also claims that the IUB "failed to cite why the landowner list is exempt from Iowa’s Open Records Law."

In a letter submitted by Summit Carbon to the IUB prior to the ruling, Summit Carbon claims that the information of impacted landowners should remain private as landowners did not agree to have their information shared publicly. 

"Summit has, from the start, argued (as have other utilities on many issues over many years) that their dealings with individual landowners are private and confidential for the protection of the privacy interests of the landowner." the letter read. 

Summit Carbon's Midwest Carbon Express is a proposed pipeline which will span 705.3 miles in Iowa, with 27.38 miles in Cerro Gordo County, according to the company.

The project will also run through parts of Hancock, Floyd, Franklin and Wright counties. 

Summit Carbon Solutions Pipeline Map.jpg

Summit Carbon Solutions Pipeline Map.

The project aims to take carbon dioxide, that would otherwise be put into the atmosphere, and divert it through pipelines to be stored underground in North Dakota. 

Summit Carbon Solutions has invested $4.5 billion in the project and estimates that it will be able to transport 12 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. 

According to spokesperson Quinn Slaven, Summit Carbon plans on filing its pipeline permit with the IUB in the first quarter of 2022. 

Construction on the project is slated for 2023, with hopes for the pipeline to be operational by 2024.

Zachary Dupont covers politics and business development for the Globe Gazette. You can reach him at 641-421-0533 or zachary.dupont@globegazette.com. Follow Zachary on Twitter at @ZachNDupont

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