Johnson County Supervisors oppose use of eminent domain for CO2 pipelines

During their work session meeting Wednesday, the supervisors agreed to send a letter to the Iowa Utilities Board in opposition of eminent domain use for carbon sequestration pipelines in the county.


Grace Kreber

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors held a meeting at the Johnson County Administration Building on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

Cooper Worth, News Reporter

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors has agreed to sign a letter to oppose the use of eminent domain for two proposed carbon sequestration pipelines that would run through 36 Iowa counties, not including Johnson County.

The letter is addressed to the Iowa Utilities Board, which is the authority over the proposed pipelines. Johnson County and its elected officials do not have any authority or capacity to overturn the utilities board’s decision.

The supervisors are joining the neighboring Linn County Board of Supervisors in public opposition of the two pipelines that are projected to span around 3,300 miles underground in the state.

The proposed pipelines do not enter Johnson County, but they go through Linn, Iowa, and Cedar Counties, which all border Johnson County.

Navigator CO2 Venture, one of the companies that proposed the pipeline project in Iowa, has composed a 1,300-mile underground pipeline that would run diagonally through the state. The other is proposed by Summit Carbon Solutions, with a designed 2,000-mile pipeline slated to go through western and north-central Iowa.

Supervisor Lisa Green-Douglas said the supervisors need to follow suit with the Linn County Supervisors and address the environmental impact of the pipelines, as well as the potential misuse of eminent domain.

“Eminent domain is for the greater good, not for private enterprise and private profit, which this would be,” Green-Douglas said.

Eminent domain grants governments the right to appropriate private land for public use or benefit.

Supervisor Rod Sullivan said he thought the proposed pipelines were “egregious” in terms of eminent domain usage and there may be significant risks associated with the pipelines.

“Private property rights are just so fundamental to everything our government is based on,” Sullivan said. “The second thing is the whole environmental greenwashing approach that they’re taking to this. It’s not real, and we should call that out as well.”

Supervisor Jon Green said he anticipated a future, third pipeline to be run through near Cedar Township in Johnson County.

“It seems like it is coming, and I hope that we have the opportunity to register our objection to it. I don’t know how big of a difference it’ll make because the Iowa Utilities Board certainly does not answer to us,” Green said.

The supervisors also agreed to draft a second letter of opposition to be sent to the Iowa Utilities Board if a third pipeline is projected to go through Johnson County in the future.