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Summit withdraws motion for immediate action against landowner

By Jared Strong

A company that wants to build a sprawling liquid carbon dioxide pipeline has withdrawn its court request for immediate access to private property in northern Iowa for a land survey, according to court records.

A hearing to consider Summit Carbon Solutions’ request for a temporary injunction against Hardin County landowner Kent Kasischke was set for early next week. Summit withdrew its request on Wednesday, and a judge canceled the hearing.

The withdrawal follows an unsuccessful attempt by another pipeline company to obtain a temporary injunction for a land survey.

“We are continuing to pursue our request for an injunction and will be setting a schedule for the proceedings in the near future,” Summit told Iowa Capital Dispatch on Thursday.

Summit sued three sets landowners in September and sought permanent injunctions that would grant it access to their properties in Dickinson, Hardin and Kossuth counties. The company seeks to survey the properties to help determine the path of its proposed pipeline.

Trials for the permanent injunctions have not yet been scheduled. The pipeline would transport captured carbon dioxide from ethanol plants to be sequestered deep underground in North Dakota, the company has said.

Summit had also requested expedited relief in the form of immediate, temporary injunctions. It argued that further delays of the surveys will cause the company “economic harm” and said the public has an interest in the state’s laws and rules being upheld.

The company has suggested a final permit hearing for its project to be scheduled by state regulators for March.

State law allows for the surveys for hazardous liquid pipeline companies as they proceed through the permit process. They must first hold informational meetings for potentially affected landowners and then send written notice about the land surveys.

Court records show that Summit sent notices via certified mail to the three sets of landowners in March and July but have been denied access to the land.

Another company that has proposed a similar pipeline, Navigator CO2 Ventures, sued four sets of landowners in August, also to gain access to their properties for surveys. Navigator also sought temporary injunctions, but a judge recently ruled against the company in one of the cases because, in essence, the temporary injunction sought the same outcome as the permanent injunction.

The judge reasoned that if the temporary injunction were granted, there would be no need for further litigation because the company would get access to the land. The landowners in that case are arguing the state law that allows the surveys is an unconstitutional infringement of their property rights. They seek their own court order to bar Navigator from accessing their farm.

Court filings show the trials for the Navigator lawsuits will likely begin in January or February and that the company will abandon its requests for temporary injunctions against the other landowners.

Third pipeline proposal gets new meetings

Another company that wants to build a carbon dioxide pipeline in eastern Iowa will hold new informational meetings in December after it stumbled in notifying potentially affected landowners of its first meetings in late August.

Wolf Carbon Solutions acknowledged mistakes in its notifications and asked the Iowa Utilities Board to restart its permit process. The board scheduled the meetings for:

— Cedar County: Dec. 5 at noon at the Cedar County Fairgrounds in Tipton.
— Linn County: Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. at the Hawkeye Downs Speedway and Expo Center in Cedar Rapids.
— Clinton County: Dec. 6 at noon at the Wild Rose Convention Center in Clinton.
— Scott County: Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the RiverCenter in Davenport.

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of the States Newsroom, a network of similar news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity.

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