Increasing concerns over Summit Carbon Solutions’ pipeline project are coming to the surface this week. A watchdog called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and its research director Robert Maguire examined findings that the project for a carbon pipeline in the US Midwest has close ties to Iowa officials and regulators who are directly responsible for approving its route.
Both institutions can influence the future of the project. The connections are with the top individual donor to the Governor of Iowa Kim Reynolds and former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who nominated two of the Iowa Utility Board’s three commissioners, including its chair.
“I would say there is a valid concern on the part of the [pipeline opponents] that they’re not getting equal treatment by the government,” explained Robert Maguire who examined the Reuters reporting.
According to Summit spokesman Jesse Harris, the company has attracted a strong bipartisan team with a diverse set of experiences in agriculture, engineering, and public policy.
A spokesman from the Utility Board, Don Torney also addressed the concerns, saying the board members are held to ethical standards and would decide for themselves whether there was a conflict of interest in their participation in the pipeline proceedings “at the appropriate time.”
Alex Murphy, spokesman for Governor Reynolds, also replied that the governor conducts “a full, fair and impartial review of every bill that makes it to her desk.”
The review discovered that Bruce Rastetter, head of Summit’s parent company Summit Agricultural Group, is Reynolds’ top individual donor. His contribution to the Republican governor from 2018 to 2022 amounts to $150,000.
Some experts are concerned that Reynolds would veto any bills that are against the pipeline and thus discriminate against the opponents of the project.
“If they are listening to the people, it’s very clear that this shouldn’t be approved,” said Jess Mazour, an organizer with the Sierra Club environmental group, regarding the matter.
According to records, the Summit Carbon Solutions’ carbon capture pipeline receives mostly opposition from landowners, however, it is also expected to reduce emissions of ethanol production which would give it a boost in the green economy competitive landscape.