Pipeline company files suit against Floyd County landowners

This map provided by Summit Carbon Solutions to the Iowa Utilities Board shows the proposed route near Rockford for a carbon-capture pipeline. More maps at the bottom of this article show the route past Charles City and New Hampton, ending at an ethanol plant west of Lawler.

The company seeking to build a carbon capture pipeline through Iowa has filed suit against a Floyd County family over access to their land for surveys.

Summit Carbon Solutions, LLC is seeking an injunction against Gary L., John E., Sandra K. and Joshua Lee Marth and the Marth Family Revocable Trust. It filed the petition on Dec. 20 in Floyd County District Court.

Summit has tried and failed since April to get permission from the Marths for a survey crew to access particular tracts of their property east of Rockford, according to the filing. The crew would examine the cropland to determine appropriate depth and direction of the proposed carbon capture pipeline.

Marth family members refused to accept letters sent by restricted certified mail seeking permission and giving 10-day notice notice to access their land, the filing says.

“The surveys are a quick and important method to assist in determining if the proposed pipeline will affect your property,” says one of the letters from Micah Morris, Summit’s director of land and right of way. “These surveys should not inconvenience you in any way, and because the surveys will not involve any heavy equipment or underground samples, we do not anticipate that they will cause any damages. However, you will be compensated should there be any damages as a result of the surveys.”

The letter, dated July 14, also notes that the Marths had refused Summit’s survey crews access and says the company would take legal action if not contacted within 10 days.

The Dec. 20 petition for an injunction claims the access refusal harms the company and the general public.

“The ongoing refusal to allow Summit to exercise its statutory rights under Iowa Code section 479B.15 risks delaying the pipeline permitting process,” the filing says, “the result of which will likely be significant harm to the public interest in addition to the economic harm that will result to Summit, both by thwarting the public policy served by Iowa Code chapter 479B to grant the Iowa Utilities Board authority to implement certain controls over hazardous liquid pipelines and by deferring the economic and environmental benefits to the public associated with the proposed pipeline.”

Summit asked the court to grant an injunction that allows access to the properties and prohibits the Marths from interfering or threatening to interfere with the surveys. It also asks that local law enforcement be instructed to ensure access is timely and safely provided.

The route through the Marths’ land continues past Charles City to the south and turns north to above New Hampton ending at the Homeland Energy Solutions ethanol plant west of Lawler.