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Navigator withdraws pipeline permit application in Iowa

Posted at 1:46 PM, Oct 24, 2023

Navigator CO2 officially withdrew its petition in Iowa for a hazardous liquid pipeline permit on Monday after announcing last week it was canceling its project.

The company had proposed to build a 1,350-mile pipeline system in five states to transport captured carbon dioxide from ethanol plants and other facilities to Illinois for underground sequestration or other commercial purposes.

Last month, Navigator asked the Iowa Utilities Board to suspend its permit process. That followed a decision by utility regulators in South Dakota to deny the company a permit.

On Friday, the company announced it was abandoning the project because of the “unpredictable nature of the regulatory and government processes.” A company spokesperson further said potential legislation that could alter state rules that govern the pipelines added another layer of uncertainty.

Navigator was one of three companies that proposed to build carbon dioxide pipelines in Iowa. Summit Carbon Solutions is nearing the end of its permit process in Iowa but was denied permits in North and South Dakota, which has delayed its project timeline.

Summit initially hoped to have its system operational sometime next year, but the company said last week it would not likely be in operation until 2026 if Summit is able to get permits from the states. North Dakota regulators have agreed to reconsider Summit’s permit request, and the company has said it will reapply in South Dakota.

Spokesperson: Wolf Carbon still hopes to avoid eminent domain

The third company, Wolf Carbon Solutions, proposes a shorter route in eastern Iowa that would connect to two ethanol plants and seeks to avoid using eminent domain to obtain land easements.

Nikki Cannon, a Wolf spokesperson, said the company is still working with landowners, elected officials and others to find a palatable route.

“Our main goal is to not use eminent domain and instead find creative solutions that will enable this project to move forward around those who do not wish to have their land included in the pipeline route,” Cannon said.

The company has the ability to amend its IUB permit application to request the use of eminent domain.

Pipeline opponents and others have argued that eminent domain is inappropriate for carbon dioxide pipelines because they don’t benefit the public in the same way that natural gas pipelines and electricity transmission lines do.

The Iowa House approved legislation this year that would have required the pipeline companies to obtain voluntary easements for 90% of their routes before they could use eminent domain for the rest, but the Senate did not take up the bill.

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.

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