Summit Carbon Solutions is suing Story County, Iowa, over rules requiring the proposed carbon pipeline to be moved up to one third of a mile away from residences.
As reported by Law360, the lawsuit filed by Summit and local businessman William Couser argues that county officials are overriding state and federal officials with this new ordinance.
The new ordinance was approved on October 18 and is a setback for the proposed carbon pipeline project that is set to span 2,000 miles across five states, including Iowa, and has an estimated value of $4.5 billion.
As the Carbon Herald has been covering, the pipeline project is one of three such proposed projects aiming to connect ethanol plants to carbon storage sites in North Dakota.
Once operational, the project will provide a huge decarbonization opportunity for the ethanol industry, which will not only minimize its impact on climate, but is said to also boost its competitiveness.
Currently, Summit, as are the remaining two pipeline operators, is seeking the approval from utility regulators in Iowa and other states and is in the process of signing easements with landowners to officially begin construction of the pipeline.
Under the new Story County rule, however, Summit Carbon Solutions will have to redraw its Iowa pipeline route to ensure that it is at least 1,600 feet away from buildings that are difficult to evacuate, such as nursing homes and hospitals.
The ordinance was approved with the intention of reducing the risk of potential pipeline ruptures, as a result of which the liquid CO2 in them will turn into gas and could lead to sickness and even death when inhaled in large quantities.
According to the lawsuit against Story County, this ordinance is in conflict with the federal Pipeline Safety Act, which says that only federal officials have the authority to oversee the safety of interstate pipelines.
So far, Story County officials have declined to comment on the litigation.