Work on specific wording to begin on county carbon pipeline ordinance

The Montgomery County Planning and Zoning Commission has taken the first steps towards setting an ordinance ahead of Summit Carbon Solutions potential plans for a carbon pipeline through portions of the county.
During a public hearing, Red Oak resident Jan Norris spoke to the commission and said that every day she heard more reasons to be against the pipeline, and while the ultimate decision was up to the Iowa Utilities Board, the commission was in a position to protect the county and its residents by passing an ordinance.
“Ordinances have more teeth than a resolution, and can determine how far a pipeline must be from a home, livestock, or a school, and can set fees and requirements to protect from future expense. We need to consider this could just be the beginning,” stated Norris. “Past experience has shown that once pipeline easements are secured, subsequent projects start with the same route, and we could have multiple pipelines coming through our county. They call it a pipeline corridor. The plant in Shenandoah is the last stop on the route thus far, which makes us prime real estate for projects coming up from southern states. I would hate to see West Township become a pipeline interstate jam.”
Tom Honeyman, who owns property that would be on the east end of a portion of the proposed pipeline project, also expressed his disfavor for the proposed plans. Honeyman said he did not want an easement on his property.
“They are only going to pay for an easement once. Also, there is information that these people have never built a pipeline. You definitely want to protect the county, protect my property, and yours,” commented Honeyman.
Last to speak was Lori Johnson, who lives in the southwest corner of Montgomery County. While they don’t own land that the pipeline is earmarked for installation on, Johnson said it was going to be only 288 feet from their living room window.
“It’s going to be right near the window where Sarah sits and copies out of her storybooks, and her Bible, and watches her movies. I don’t want anything to do with that. I’m asking you to put in an ordinance that gets the pipeline as far away from Sarah as you could. That is my prayer,” said Johnson.
Commission member Naomi McCunn asked if eminent domain became a reality how effective any ordinance they passed would be. After discussion, it was determined the pipeline would still have to conform to county ordinance, and they would have to pay any fees. The state could override the ordinance, but the county still could put the ordinance in place.
Commission member Vicki Rossander said if the county passed an ordinance prior to the potential approval of the pipeline project, it would be very hard for the pipeline company to challenge the ordinance. Snyder & Associates, the engineering firm selected by the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors to handle pipeline inspections, also urged an ordinance be passed.
“I found it very interesting that even the inspector and engineer is recommending the ordinance be put into place,” said Rossander.
Zoning administrator Barry Byers confirmed that time was of the essence in getting an ordinance passed.
“As soon as they give the board official notice of intent to proceed, it’s out of our hands. It doesn’t matter what we pass after that, as soon as they have the permission of the Iowa Utilities Board, they will come in and say they have their approved permits, easements, federal clearance, and that they are moving forward. From that date, we won’t be able to do anything,” Byers said.
The zoning commission then examined the pipeline ordinance that has been passed in Shelby County. Byers said he had been asked by the supervisors to have the commission review the Shelby County ordinance to see if it could be revised to fit Montgomery County. Between public hearings of the commission and the board of supervisors, Byers said the earliest an ordinance could be passed in Montgomery County would be in eight weeks.
The commission agreed to use the Shelby County pipeline ordinance as a template for an ordinance specific to Montgomery County. Further action on the ordinance will take place at a future commission meeting.

The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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