Iowa bill aims to implement new requirements for CO2 pipelines

By Erin Voegele | February 21, 2023

A bill introduced in the Iowa legislature on Feb. 20 aims to implement new requirements for the development of carbon dioxide pipelines within the state. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association has spoken out against the legislation.

The bill, HF 368, was introduced on Feb. 20 by Iowa Rep. Steven Holt and addressed by a House Judiciary subcommittee the following day. The legislation passed out of subcommittee by a vote of 2-0.

The bill, in part, would prevent the Iowa Utilities Board from granting a permit to a pipeline company until the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration provides new rules updating the safety standards for liquified carbon dioxide pipelines, including requirements related to emergency preparedness and response. The bill also aims to prevent the board from granting a liquefied carbon dioxide pipeline company the right of eminent domain unless the company acquires at least 90 percent of the affected route miles through voluntary easements or through preexisting easements.

The IRFA is speaking out against the HF 368. “The difference between the rhetoric and reality on this bill is truly staggering,” said Monte Shaw, executive director of the IRFA. “We hear about property rights, but this bill wouldn’t impact the next Dakota Access oil pipeline or Rock Island Clean Line Transmission project. We hear about safety, but this bill doesn’t apply to pipelines that carry explosive or flammable liquids while CO2 is neither. Instead, this bill singles out for destruction the single most important technology we have to keep liquid fuels like ethanol competitive with electric vehicles in the rapidly growing low carbon transportation markets. It is no surprise that anti-agriculture groups like the Sierra Club support preventing carbon capture and sequestration from going forward.”

“The bill is a veritable cornucopia of unreasonable regulations narrowly targeted at CCS technology,” continued Shaw. “For example, section three of the bill would allow just two people to effectively veto an interstate CCS project even if that project had 100 percent voluntary easements. It would only take two county supervisors to enact an ordinance, like a setback requirement that is physically impossible to meet, and then the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) would be prevented from issuing a final permit.”

“IRFA continues to urge all Iowans to unite to find a fair and equitable path forward for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) projects – fair and equitable to landowners, CCS projects and communities,” Shaw added. “Further, any changes to the IUB permitting process should apply to all applicants, not just CO2 pipelines.”

A full copy of the bill is available on the Iowa Legislature website.