SUPERVISORS: Summit Carbon Solutions says they’ve acquired 79 percent of needed easements for pipeline
By Rick Morain
The Greene County Board of Supervisors Sept. 19 heard an update from Paul Phillips and Riley Gibson of Summit Carbon Solutions, the firm that has plans to run a liquid carbon dioxide pipeline through northeast Greene County.
Phillips reported that the company has acquired nearly 79 percent of the easements sought from affected landowners in the county, a higher proportion than the 50 percent for the rest of the state.
He said the company is doing all it can to achieve 100 percent of the easements, as it currently has no path to use eminent domain to acquire them. Some sections of the proposed pipeline route have been changed to avoid conflicts with some landowners.
Phillips also said the company, in response to some questions, will take responsibility to protect and maintain the farms’ drainage systems.
Asked about why ethanol plants themselves don’t capture the carbon dioxide and sell it, Phillips said that usable carbon dioxide is already pulled away by the ethanol plants. The proposed pipelines would transport the unusable product, benefiting ethanol producers through a lower carbon score and resulting better prices.
Phillips said the entire transported carbon dioxide product would be captured and permanently stored deep underground.
Gibson reported that Summit is in early stages of coordinating with Greene County engineer Wade Weiss’s office for permitting locally.
County attorney Thomas Laehn noted that board members have received a survey from the executive board of the Iowa State Association of County Supervisors, with one of the questions to be answered by the supervisors as a body: whether they would be interested in petitioning the Iowa Utilities Board to intervene in the applications to permit the proposed carbon dioxide pipelines. There would be a cost to the state’s counties if the intervention takes place.
Consensus of the supervisors is to choose the “undecided” response, since cost estimates and the position to be taken by the state association were not provided.
SOLAR ENERGY ORDINANCE
On another issue, Marta Lasch and Tom Karas of National Grid Renewables presented their recommendations for the most recent draft of the proposed Greene County solar energy ordinance language. Lasch presented published information on several topics related to solar energy fields, and once again asked the board to reconsider lowering the draft language setback distances from dwellings, buildings, and property lines.
Lasch requested, and the board agreed, that the board’s proposed 1,000 thousand acre cap on the size of solar energy fields should apply to the entire solar panel system, not just to the panels themselves.
Board chair John Muir informed Lasch and Karas that the board is unlikely to reduce further the setback distances for dwellings and buildings. The board’s proposed setback distance for dwellings is 600 feet.
Teresa Hoyle, whose home is located close to the proposed solar farm south of Grand Junction, and others have expressed concerns about their difficulty in receiving responses from National Grid Renewables to their phone inquiries. Lasch apologized for the company, and said she would pass on the complaint to the appropriate company departments. Katlynn Mechaelsen asked about emergency response procedures and response times if an incident were reported.
On a related issue, the board placed on second reading, waived the third reading, and adopted the ordinance to extend the county’s temporary moratorium on utility-scale solar energy projects to noon on Monday, Oct 24, or until the proposed ordinance governing those projects is adopted, whichever is first.
The amendment ordinance vote followed a public hearing, with no oral or written objections received.
• County attorney Laehn reported the county has 70 pending criminal cases, with Sept. 27 being the next trial date.
• County engineer Weiss said that Churdan secondary roads county shed foreman Jay Tasler, a department employee for 28 years, is retiring. Weiss also reported plans for a maintainer purchase costing $446,022 for delivery next year, sharing information on average equipment hours and age of the county’s maintainers.
• He also said that the controller for the Mahanay Tower music has been reprogrammed by the Verdin Company and is expected to be returned soon.