Kossuth County approves pipeline ordinance despite litigation threat

The Iowa Capital Dispatch
BY: JARED STRONG – DECEMBER 13, 2023 

Supervisors of Kossuth County have approved new restrictions for carbon dioxide pipelines that would require them to be placed certain distances away from cities, houses and other facilities.

The board of supervisors voted 4-1 on Tuesday to approve their third and final consideration of the ordinance despite the imminent threat of litigation from Summit Carbon Solutions, which has sued three counties for imposing similar restrictions.

Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed pipeline would bisect Kossuth County. (Courtesy of Iowa Utilities Board filings)

The company proposes to build a five-state pipeline system to transport captured carbon dioxide from ethanol plants to North Dakota for underground storage. About 700 miles of pipe would be laid in Iowa.

Summit has so far been successful in challenging county ordinances that might interfere with its proposed route. A federal judge granted the company permanent injunctions last week that prevent Shelby and Story counties from enforcing their ordinances, which are similar to the one approved this week by Kossuth.

A Summit representative noted those injunctions last week before the Kossuth supervisors took their second of three votes to approve their ordinance.

“The counties are permanently barred from enforcing any aspect of those ordinances,” said Grant Terry, a senior project manager for the company, according to a video recording of the meeting. “Just, again, it shows that that regulating power and the responsibility is at the state and federal level. … If you have any questions, I’d be more than happy to answer.”

The supervisors did not have any questions. Instead, they modified the ordinance to slightly lessen the so-called setback distances and moved it toward passage. Read more