The Iowa Utilities Board denies the Winnebago Tribe’s request for an environmental study of CO2 pipelines

DES MOINES – The Iowa Utilities Board on Friday denied the Winnebago tribe of Nebraska’s application for an environmental impact study along the proposed route of a liquid carbon dioxide pipeline that would pass near the tribe’s lands.

The IUB said in its decision that an independent environmental study is not required by law and is unnecessary because Navigator Heartland Greenway must meet several environmental requirements during the process of applying for a permit for a hazardous liquid pipeline.

“… the fulfillment of the requirements for permits and approvals from other state and federal authorities is sufficient to clarify any environmental issues raised in the process,” according to the IUB.

During the permitting process, Heartland must demonstrate how it handles the environmental permits and permits required to build the pipelines. Other parties may also submit testimonies and pieces of evidence in response to the Company’s evidence. The Board will consider all of this evidence when deciding whether to grant a permit for the pipeline.

The Winnebago Tribal Council in June requested IUB, along with the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors and the Dakota County Board of Commissioners, to require an environmental study before granting permits for the pipeline.

“The Winnebago Tribe has consistently opposed the issuing of permits for pipelines that could adversely affect our land or water. … the proposed pipelines and alternatives. Authorities issuing permits cannot make informed or informed decisions without this information. Neither can the general public,” the tribal council said in its resolution requesting the study.

If built, the 1,300-mile Heartland Greenway pipeline 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 transported would be pumped thousands of feet below the surface to prevent it from being released into the atmosphere. It would run through several counties in northwest Iowa, including Woodbury, as well as Dakota, Dixon, and Wayne counties in Nebraska.

Most of the Winnebago Indian Reservation is in Thurston County, but portions extend into Dixon and Woodbury counties. These sites are north of the reservation, but the pipeline would cross the Missouri River upstream of the reservation. The tribe is concerned about the pipeline route that runs beneath ancestral land and the burial sites that may be disruptive.

Dan Wahl is a family farmer from Spirit Lake. In a chat with the Journal, he discusses why he’s running for House District 10 and why he’s so concerned about a carbon capture pipeline

Jared McNett