Eminent domain: Politics over people


Disgraceful. That’s the best way to describe the travesty of the Iowa Utility Board’s decision to greenlight the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline on Tuesday, June 25. Disgraceful.

This unelected board, appointed by Governor Reynolds and confirmed by the Iowa Senate, has dealt a serious blow to private property rights in our state. This action allows a private corporation to utilize eminent domain in 29 Iowa counties, in the process actively violating private property rights, setting the stage for a new threat to public safety, and guaranteeing a loss of at least 3.36 billion gallons of water every year for operational purposes. All this for a pipeline with questionable success rates and even more questionable origins that will ultimately serve to line the pockets of a private corporation.

Many private citizens as well as legislators from both sides of the aisle worked to stop this from happening, but ultimately Republican leadership in the state legislature and the strong hand of the governor paved the way for this decision. Our leaders in Iowa have had multiple years to act on this issue, and their inaction speaks volumes about where their priorities lie. They are putting politics over people, and that is unacceptable.

As a state, we should be looking for creative and sustainable ways to reduce our carbon footprint and address the climate crisis issue, but we cannot do it by extorting our local farmers and landowners. This is, first and foremost, a money grab that will have rippling consequences. With this decision a new precedent is set, and your private land is now up for corporate grab. If a private corporation has enough money to line the pockets of their political pawns, your rights as a landowner are no longer guaranteed. Eminent domain has its place when it benefits the public good, but this is far from its intended use. It is the leaders of Iowa playing politics with the lives of rural Iowans, and it is disgraceful.

Benjamin Schauer, Dunlap

Dunlap City Councilman

Chair, Harrison County Democrats

Candidate, Iowa House of Representative (District 15)