Iowa judge sets hearing on CO2 pipeline company’s injunction request


SIOUX CITY – Carbon dioxide pipeline developers will have a chance to argue next week for a judge’s order to prevent two Woodbury County landowners from interfering with attempts to enter their land to survey the proposed pipeline route.

District Judge Roger Sailer on Wednesday scheduled a hearing for Sept. 30 to hear Navigator Heartland Greenway’s request for an injunction against Moville, Iowa, property owners William and Vicki Hulse, who have twice denied the company’s agents access to their land that lies in the pipeline’s proposed route.

Navigator sued the Hulses last month and is seeking a ruling that will keep them from denying access to their land.

The Hulses have filed a counterclaim challenging the constitutionality of a state law permitting pipeline companies the right of entry to private land to survey and examine it. They asked for an injunction prohibiting Navigator’s agents from entering their property until the constitutionality issue has been decided.

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Prior to Wednesday’s hearing, conducted by video conference in Woodbury County District Court, Navigator attorney Brian Rickert filed a motion asking the judge to expedite the company’s injunction request so agents can complete surveys before winter and avoid potential delays to the project.

“Navigator needs to conduct these surveys and examinations in very short order, as the results of them can determine such things as where the pipeline route is located,” Rickert said in his motion.

Sailer said in his scheduling order that a hearing should be set promptly. Further hearings will be scheduled after he rules on the injunction.

Navigator has filed similar lawsuits in Clay and Butler counties against landowners who have denied company agents access to their property. A hearing on Navigator’s injunction request in Clay County is scheduled for Thursday. The Clay County landowner and one of the two in Butler County also have filed constitutional challenges similar to the Hulses’.

Navigator has proposed a $3 billion, 1,300-mile pipeline that would collect carbon dioxide from ethanol plants and fertilizer processors in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and Illinois, convert it to liquid form and transport it under high pressure to a site in Illinois, where it would be pumped thousands of feet beneath the surface.

The pipeline would run approximately 900 miles through 36 Iowa counties, including Woodbury, Clay and Butler counties. Other Siouxland counties include Plymouth, Lyon, Osceola, O’Brien, Cherokee, Dickinson and Buena Vista in Iowa and Dakota, Dixon and Wayne counties in Nebraska.

It’s one of two carbon pipelines proposed to run through the area.