Key lawmaker optimistic House will debate pipeline bill this month
JOHNSTON — A lead sponsor of a bill that would set new regulations for proposed carbon pipelines projects says there may be changes in the bill when it’s debated in the House.
The main part of the bill would require that developers get voluntary access to 90 percent of the miles along the pipeline route before state officials could grant them eminent domain authority to seize the rest. “It’s a big issue for my landowners who do not believe that the blunt force of government should be allowed to be used to take their land for what is a private economic project,” Representative Steven Holt, a Republican from Denison, said, “because that’s what we’re talking about here.”
Holt indicated he’s confident the House will vote on the bill before month’s end. “If private property is going to mean anything in the United States of America, eminent domain cannot be based on seizing property for economic development,” Holt said during a weekend appearance on Iowa Press on Iowa PBS.
Bills in the Senate that outlined new rules for carbon pipelines never made it past an earlier deadline. Representative Lindsay James, a Democrat from Dubuque, said the concern is the bill will die in the senate. “In the House, we are rightfully starting a conversation and hopefully we will continue that conversation and hopefully the governor will take that seriously,” said James, who was also a guest on the Iowa Press program this weekend.
Last month, Governor Reynolds said she’s watching to see what happens with the House bill. While saying there could be areas where pipeline regulations could be tweaked, Reynolds told reporters she’d be having conversations with lawmakers about how new regulations could impact the ethanol industry. The pipelines are touted as a way to make ethanol carbon free and therefore expand markets the corn-based fuel.