Aug 17, 2022 - Business

Polk County will vote to oppose Iowa pipeline project

A map of a proposed Iowa pipeline project.
The Heartland Greenway project's proposed Iowa route. Map courtesy of Navigator CO2 Ventures

Polk County Supervisors are drafting a letter to object to Navigator CO2 Venture's proposed 1,300-mile pipeline project, multiple supervisors tell Axios.

  • The route would cross 33 of Iowa's 99 counties, including the northeast portion of Polk.

Why it matters: It's a showdown between property owner rights and a business that contends its project offers widespread economic and environmental benefits to the public.

Catch up fast: Navigator CO2 is a spinoff of the Dallas-based company Navigator Energy Services.

  • Its proposed Heartland Greenway project would capture carbon dioxide from ethanol and fertilizer plants in five states and permanently store it underground in central Illinois.

Driving the news: The pipeline route has been adjusted since it was first proposed in November. As a result, additional public meetings have been set as part of an approval process through the Iowa Public Utilities Board (IUB).

  • A Polk County meeting is at noon on Sept. 21. A location hasn't yet been set.

What's happening: Polk plans to join about two dozen other Iowa counties in objecting to the project in a letter to the IUB prior to next month's meeting, supervisor’s chairperson Angela Connolly told Axios.

  • The driving concern is the use of eminent domain but there's also worry about its impact on soil quality, supervisor Matt McCoy said.

Of note: City officials have fielded many questions about the project, including concerns about landowner rights, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie said in a statement to Axios Tuesday.

  • It was unclear whether the DSM City Council might follow Polk's lead.

The other side: Navigator wants landowners to hear them out so they better understand the project, company spokesperson Elizabeth Burns-Thompson told Axios Tuesday.

  • Property owners would be compensated for easements and loss in crop production. Restoration projects would help return soil to pre-pipeline conditions.
  • The project is a $1.8 billion investment in Iowa that will generate millions of dollars in property tax revenue and thousands of construction jobs, she said.

What's next: State and federal permitting processes will launch in coming months.

A map of a pipeline project.
The route includes this portion of northeast Polk County. Map courtesy of Navigator CO2 Ventures
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