Summit says they’ll follow IUB rules, not county ordinance
The Montgomery County Planning and Zoning Commission has agreed to proceed with an ordinance in regards to the potential construction of the Summit Carbon pipeline, although questions have been raised as to whether it will be followed by Summit.
On Sept. 7, the planning and zoning commission met to discuss an ordinance that had been proposed by the Shelby County Board of Supervisors and submitted to Montgomery County for potential revision and to be used by the county as its own ordinance.
Planning and zoning Chairman Bryant Amos opened a public hearing for the ordinance and took audience comments. James Norris spoke for Lori Johnson, who was unable to attend the meeting.
“We live in the far southwest corner of Montgomery County. Our acreage adjoins the land that Summit is attempting to secure an easement to for the projected pipeline route. The landowner informed us the pipeline would run 288 feet from our living room window. The dangers of that pipeline being so close to my daughter Sarah’s world is frightening. Please keep Sarah safe in her home and put in an ordinance that will require a much safer distance from the pipeline and Sarah,” read James Norris.
Jan Norris spoke next, and said she felt that there may be some misinformation being shared.
“At the Sept. 6 supervisors meeting, it was stated that the map they had showed signed easements. On Sept. 7, we learned the map actually showed eminent domain properties. Summit has filed four partial Exhibit H maps for Montgomery County A new one was posted the afternoon of Sept. 7. Currently, 43% of landowners have refused to sign. The land records search shows only two signed easements,” commented Norris.
An Exhibit H map is a tool that shows what percentage of landowners on the pipeline’s proposed route submitted to the state that shows the landowners that don’t have an agreement. If it proceeds to the IUB approving a permit, and demonstrates the properties at that point where an agreement still has not been reached.
Next to speak was Grant Terry, a project manager with Summit Carbon Solutions who spoke on behalf of the company. Terry said it was uncertain if any ordinance passed would be followed.
“In regards to public safety and ordinances, we are not outright opposed to working with counties when it comes to ordinances that provide additional security in their community. In regards to the ordinance that is being reviewed tonight, I would state that we do not plan to follow what is in place in this ordinance in regards to Shelby County,” Terry stated. “As I said, we are not opposed to ordinances. We’re actually working with Decorah County to come to a mutually agreeable ordinance that will give the public a little bit more security, discussions of a setback, and some of the other points brought up in the Shelby County ordinance.”
Terry also claimed that the Shelby County ordinance was developed by an opposition group in Nebraska that had been classified as an eco-terrorist group, and that the Shelby County Commissioner who submitted the ordinance was supposedly an active member of the group.
Commission Member Vicki Rossander asked for clarification from Terry that they had no intention of following the Shelby County ordinance even though it had been passed. Terry stated while it hadn’t been passed yet, they would not be following it.
“Our current mentality is that we will follow what is set in place by the Iowa Utilities Board, and by Mensa CFR195, the governing body for hazardous liquid pipelines in the United States, since the IUB does supersede the county level,” said Terry.
Commission member Barb Allen asked for clarification regarding the Exhibit H map and the eminent domain listings, as reportedly 33% of Montgomery County was on the eminent domain list as of the afternoon of Sept. 7. Terry said it was based on filing deadlines.
“If someone isn’t signed up by a particular date, we’re required, by law, so submit an Exhibit H for the property, even if there are friendly, ongoing negotiations with the property owner. From this period forward, as we come to agreements with additional landowners, those Exhibit H listings will be taken off. If we don’t come to an agreement, the Exhibit H remains in place,” advised Terry. “We believe that will be able to reach an agreement with those Exhibit H landowners, and they are the only ones we don’t have an agreement with, and that’s just following state policy. We have a timeline to reach an agreement, and if we don’t, it’s a designation we haven’t reached an agreement.”
Terry also stated that in Montgomery County, they were at 38% of the required land acquisition, though that percentage was disputed by community members in attendance at the meeting.
The public comment period was closed, and the planning and zoning commission agreed to proceed with an ordinance following the Shelby County draft with revisions to make it specific to Montgomery County. Zoning Administrator Barry Byers said he anticipated having the completed draft to the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors within three weeks of Sept. 7.