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Brian Jorde Quoted by Des Moines Register on Latest Development in Carbon Pipeline Battle

Large diameter steel pipe in a forest clearing

Domina Law Group Managing Lawyer Brian Jorde was recently quoted by the Des Moines Register in an article discussing the latest developments in the ongoing battle between Iowa landowners and Summit Carbon Solutions.

As reported by the Des Moines Register, regulators from the Iowa utilities board have issued an order to notify landowners who have declined to sell easements to Summit Carbon Solutions that the company plans to seek eminent domain to force them to allow construction of its $4.5 billion carbon pipeline.

Summit’s pipeline, one of three proposed by private companies that stand to make big profits, would span 2,000 miles across five states and transport liquified CO2 from dozens of ethanol plants to an underground storage site in North Dakota. Around 690 miles of the pipeline fall within Iowa’s border. Currently, 520 landowners in Iowa – roughly 30% of landowners in the pipeline’s path – have declined to sign easements giving Summit access to build on their property.

As a firm that is representing landowners in all affected states where Summit has proposed construction of its controversial pipeline, and which is leading the fight in Iowa, we have provided regular updates about the battle to protect our clients’ property rights.

The core of our work focuses on educating landowners about their rights and options and raising legal challenges that oppose private companies like Summit Carbon Solutions from using eminent domain – a right typically reserved for the government and public entities – to gain access to private property and build a pipeline that enriches company owners. This includes several high-profile legal challenges in Iowa to dismiss Summit’s petition to use eminent domain and a motion that aims to ensure a scheduled hearing will provide affected landowners with a fair opportunity to present their case.

As Brian Jorde told the Des Moines Register, the motion to dismiss Summit’s petition contends that the company is incorrect in its assertion that the carbon dioxide it would transport constitutes a hazardous liquid, and that the CO2 would rather be in a “supercritical phase” somewhere between a gas and liquid. Testimony included in the motion from two chemical engineers explained the distinction:

“When CO2 exceeds the critical point through a combination of pressure and temperature applied, CO2 is no longer in the liquid or gas state and instead is in the different and distinct supercritical fluid state. Liquid or liquefied carbon dioxide is not the same as supercritical carbon dioxide.”

Jorde also commented on the motion to reconsider the timing of a hearing before the Iowa Utilities board scheduled for August 22, two months before a date previously considered by the board. According to Jorde, the switch doesn’t give landowners sufficient time to prepare:

"The new hearing schedule violates the procedural due process rights of ... landowners by requiring them to testify approximately four months earlier than previously scheduled and requiring them to testify about the proposed pipeline’s impact to their land before the party with the burden of proof — Summit — testifies.”

You can read the full article from the Des Moines Register featuring quotes from Brian Jorde here.