Pipelines get supervisors unanimous objection

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In a January letter, the Emmet County Board of Supervisors gave its unanimous objection to the Summit and Navigator pipelines planned for Emmet County.

The Summit Pipeline filed its petition with the Iowa Utility Board last week. That pipeline would cut about a five-mile slice across northwestern Emmet County. The Navigator Pipeline, meanwhile, would cross the entire county.

In a letter to Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Dist. 4 Sen. Dennis Guth and Iowa Dist. 7 Rep. Henry Stone, the supervisors outlined three primary concerns – drainage, safety and infrastructure and future development.

“We offer these three irreconcilable issues that will have lasting effect and do irreparable damage to our county’s agricultural welfare and ownership rights,” the supervisors said in their letter.

Regarding drainage, the supervisors wrote, “This proposed project will allow private investors to profit while limiting future improvements and productivity of the land. Additionally, it is inevitable that there will be damage to existing drainage tile and without appropriate legislation on the state and county levels, there is no protection for the private tile already installed.”

The supervisors also addressed the issue of an accidental discharge of concentrated carbon dioxide.

“ . . . planning for response to an accidental discharge of the concentrated CO2 will require additional training at great expense to our county. Our regional Hazmat team is located in Mason City, approximately two hours away, and even though our volunteer fire fighters and first responders are well trained and equipped, they are not prepared to provide the urgent response needed if a problem with the pipeline would occur.” The letter also said the proposed Navigator route would include two-fifths of the county population.

Regarding infrastructure, the letter stated, “The installation of the two pipelines to support the travel through Emmet again represents usage without benefit to our county. These pipelines will further impede the installation and placement of the much needed infrastructure, that of fiber optics, gas, and electric both in and out of the county.”

The supervisors also addressed the issue of eminent domain.

“We hold grave concerns for the precedence it will set and further how those easements might transfer through legal channels to others without consideration for the landowners. The definition of property ownership will be challenged if this private venture is allowed to proceed. The benefits to the general population derived by eminent domain are far different from what will be established by this private interest.”

The supervisors also addressed the need of carbon dioxide for corn production and the fact that nitrous oxide, another effluent from ethanol plants, is 282 times more hazardous to the environment.

The supervisors are also working on a resolution, now before county drainage attorney Rich Meyer, regulating pipelines in the county. The resolution, which applies to county drainage districts but not private tiles, would require permitting before pipelines could cross drainage district easements and that pipelines be located well beneath existing county tiles.

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