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Thursday, February 16, 2023

Crawford County Citizens Want Protection From Eminent Domain

Crawford County Citizens Want Protection From Eminent Domain

Crawford County citizens are encouraging local action to protect people who oppose the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline project. 

Tim Baughman is one of the landowners that could be affected. He says the project didn’t worry him much until eminent domain started sounding like a real possibility. 

“I just don’t think that applies here because this is not a public utility. It is a private, for-profit company. I firmly believe in landowner rights so if landowners want this on their property I have no problem with that. If a pipeline corridor is established there will probably be other types of pipelines that will follow,” Baughman said. 

Baughman approached the Crawford County Board of Supervisors during citizen input this week as he has several times before. He encouraged them to adopt an ordinance similar to the one adopted just down the road in Shelby County. Summit filed a lawsuit almost immediately over the new policy. The civil case is expected to begin during 2024 but Summit has also mentioned starting at least some construction this summer. Baughman says an Iowa Utilities Board hearing about the project could happen this fall instead of next year. 

“That’s just ludicrous in my opinion because that’s when farmers are going to be involved with harvesting. It’s just frustrating that the people that this is going to predominantly affect aren’t really being taken into consideration. I know the federal regulations are currently being rewritten to specifically address pipelines. It appears that there’s a push so they can be grandfathered in,” Baughman said. 

He says Summit’s overall lack of transparency about the project concerns him and people should have a full picture of what the impact on public safety, the economy, and the environment could look like.

“Landowners have been paying property taxes for hundreds of years and I just don’t think we should be throwing the baby out with the bathwater just because everybody is so excited about this new business venture,” 

Baughman says bills introduced in the legislature that could help slow down the project are struggling to advance through subcommittee. 

“Okay, if we’re going to pursue pipelines in Iowa then let’s do this and do it right. If this eminent domain thing becomes a precedent I think it’s just going to kind of open the floodgates for any private company and landowners aren’t going to have anything to say about it,” Baughman said. 

He says people can find out how to send objections directly to the Iowa Utilities Board online. He also says a rally is being organized for 10 a.m. this coming Tuesday at the State Capitol in Des Moines. 

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