With ten days left until the first GOP primary caucuses, attention has been turning towards Iowa. Candidates looking to cut the substantial lead of frontrunner Donald Trump are weighing in on issues that resonate with voters in the state and chief among them is the use of eminent domain for carbon pipelines.
In an interview with the Des Moines Register Ron DeSantis stated he is in favor of using eminent domain when it comes to projects that benefit the public and gave the Keystone XL oil pipeline as an example.
When queried specifically about CO2 pipelines that would be developed for and with the ethanol industry he said “..we would not do any federal eminent domain.”
Vivek Ramaswamy, another primary candidate, criticized this position as something that potentially leaves a door open for the projects, seizing on another quote from DeSantis saying that he only opposes “expansive use of eminent domain.”
Ramaswamy has been vocal in his opposition to the use of eminent domain. He published an op-ed in the same media titled “Eminent domain for CO2 pipelines is wrong, and unconstitutional,” in which his views on property rights and climate change position him as a clear opponent to any projects involving CO2 capture and transportation.
The positions of both candidates appear to track the mood of Iowans, with 78% of them saying they oppose using eminent domain for CO2 pipelines in the state in a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll earlier this year.
The major projects in the Midwest have had different fortunes. The opposition caused Navigator CO2 to suspend its 1,300 mile project in October, 2023, while Summit Carbon Solutions continues with its quest for approvals.
The Iowa Utilities Board is expecting final arguments by January 19 from Summit and will have to decide whether eminent domain is applicable for properties on the route of its proposed pipelines.
The company recently shared that its efforts to negotiate with landowners in North Dakota are progressing and it is close to securing its entire route there.