November 26, 2022

Adair County sends letter opposing eminent domain

The Iowa Utility Board, the governing body that oversees permissions for utilities like large-scale wind farms, solar farms or carbon dioxide pipelines to be built in Iowa should have received a letter this week from Adair County’s board of supervisors sharing their opposition to the use of eminent domain for the building of CO2 pipelines.

The supervisors voted unanimously to send the letter during their Tuesday, Sept. 20 meeting.

“It’s saying that we’re not individually opposed to the construction of the pipelines but we are opposed to eminent domain as a way of achieving it,” said Matt Wedemeyer, the group’s chairman. “I did read through some of the other counties’ letters either for or against. Some were very detailed with a lot of legal wording, but I didn’t think that was really necessary.”

Supervisor Jodie Hoadley, one of the first on the board to speak up and request a letter be sent, said the wording of Adair County’s letter is very similar to those sent by many other counties.

“We know that with the Utilities Board in charge of the eminent domain we’re not going to be able to stop it, but we don’t approve of it being approved for private projects,” Hoadley said.

According to a recent report in the Adair County Free Press, land owner rights are limited in the fight against the pipeline.

Land owners can refuse a survey, but Iowa law states with proper notice, surveyors can still access the property. Land owners can refuse to sign the easement allowing the pipeline access to their land, but eminent domain laws give the government the power to take property even if owners don’t want to sell.

The property needs to be for a “public use,” typically roads or bridges, and land owners must be paid “just compensation” for their property.

In a map included in a Navigator press release, a new Phase 2 pipeline showed the project running from a POET Bioprocessing plant in Menlo to another in Corning. This carbon pipeline would run through Adair County. The Navigator pipeline is 1,300 miles long and reaches plants in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois and dispense in South Dakota.

The letter the supervisors sent specifically states that if Phase 2 includes eminent domain, the developer’s application should be rejected.

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson has served as News Editor of the Adair County Free Press and Fontanelle Observer since Oct. 2017. He and his wife Kilee live in Greenfield. In Greenfield and the greater Adair County area, he values the opportunity to tell peoples' stories, enjoys playing guitar, following all levels of sports, and being a part of his local church.