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Landowner list should be public: LETTER

Bruce Rastetter’s Summit Carbon Solutions LLC is telling the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) that Summit actually cares about Iowa landowner privacy.

These landowners own Iowa land on which Summit is pushing furiously to build a liquified CO2 pipeline.

Summit will collect billions in tax credits, sellable carbon credits, access to “low-carbon” fuel markets and more, if it can get the pipeline built quickly.

The IUB is involved because liquified CO2 is dangerous; at high concentrations, CO2 can suffocate.

Summit is pressing landowners in 30 Iowa counties to get the owners to sign easements — contracts that give up property rights — so Summit can start construction.

Overhanging everything is the threat of eminent domain, meaning Summit could take the property rights it covets, no matter what. A recent Iowa Supreme Court precedent could help Summit do that.

Individually, the Iowa landowners are no match against Summit, whose CEO is arguably the most powerful man in the state. Picking them off one by one, Summit can likely bend most of the Iowa landowners to its corporate will, and then use eminent domain on the stubbornest holdouts, to get the property rights it craves.

As a group, though, the landowners could stand up to Rastetter. They could negotiate from a position of strength, not weakness.

The landowners are only at the negotiating table because Summit dragged them there as individuals.

To form a group, the landowners need to know who each other are. The IUB can facilitate that by making the landowner list public, despite Summit’s ruse about landowner “privacy.” (The IUB ruled this week the list can remain private.)

If David had fought Goliath without a slingshot, there’d have been no contest.

The IUB needs to give David his slingshot by making the Iowa landowner list public.

Marian Kuper, Ackley

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