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Wolf Carbon pipeline plans might be delayed


Wolf Carbon pipeline plans might be delayed

Mar 14, 2023 | 6:38 pm ET
By Jared Strong
Wolf Carbon pipeline plans might be delayed
Wolf Carbon Solutions filed for a hazardous liquid pipeline permit on Feb. 23, 2023. (Iowa Utilities Board filing)

An attorney for Wolf Carbon Solutions told state regulators on Tuesday that it’s unclear whether the company is on track to start construction of its proposed carbon dioxide pipeline in the second quarter of 2024, as it had initially planned.

“It’s too early to be able to tell when we would like to schedule our hearing,” said Amanda James, a Wolf attorney. “They’re just getting out in the field now, and so they’re working with landowners, property owners.”

Wolf is one of three companies to file for a hazardous liquid pipeline permit with the Iowa Utilities Board, which it did in late February.

That permit indicates the company will not seek eminent domain for any parcel of land that would host the 95 miles of pipe it intends to lay in far eastern Iowa.

Pipeline companies’ potential use of eminent domain to force easements with unwilling landowners is deeply unpopular in the state, according to a recent Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll. The poll found that 78% of Iowans oppose eminent domain for the pipelines and 15% support it.

Wolf’s proposal would transport captured carbon dioxide from two ethanol plants to Illinois. It is the only one of the three that has not included a request for eminent domain, although its permit petition could be modified later to include it, said Don Tormey, a spokesperson for the IUB. Company officials have repeatedly pledged to obtain voluntary easements with landowners.

James said it might be possible to hold a scheduling conference in the first quarter of 2024 and schedule the final permit hearing for three or six months after, potentially delaying the IUB’s decision on the permit to late 2024.

But Nick Noppinger, senior vice president of corporate development for Wolf, is optimistic the project is on track: “We have no reason to believe the process will be delayed beyond our proposed timeline, and we’ll continue meeting all regulatory timelines for permitting,” he said Wednesday.

Navigator CO2 Ventures intends to start construction in the first half of 2024 on its 810 miles of pipeline in Iowa, said Samantha Norris, an attorney for the company. Navigator will seek a permit hearing in the first three months of that year to conclude the process before spring planting.

Summit Carbon Solutions is set to meet with the IUB on Wednesday to schedule the rest of its proceedings.

Editor’s note: This article was updated to include a quote from Nick Noppinger.