State regulators have decided to hold the public hearing on Summit Carbon Solutions' proposed $4.5 billion carbon capture pipeline at the Webster County Fairgrounds in northwest Iowa.
The Iowa Utilities Board, however, has not said when the hearing will be held.
Regulators said in an order released this week that state code requires the hearing to be held in the seat of the county located at the midpoint of the proposed pipeline — in this case, Fort Dodge.
The fairgrounds, located on the outskirts of the city, says on its website that it has two auditoriums in its events center with combined capacity of 1,000 people. The three-member utilities board said it considered school and college venues in Fort Dodge but it was concerned the hearing could be disruptive to students and classes, given uncertainty about how long it will last.
The board also decided that the government buildings in the city would not be large enough for the number of people expected to attend, and that other community event venues lacked adequate size or availability.
Wait for eminent domain list holds up setting of hearing date
Summit intends to capture carbon dioxide from ethanol, fertilizer and other industrial agricultural plants in Iowa and four other states, liquefy it under pressure and then transport it through the pipeline to North Dakota, where it would be sequestered more than a mile underground.
Two other companies have proposed similar pipeline projects. Summit is the first to submit a petition for permission to build one.
The Ames company earlier in August said it would begin notifying state regulators where it may seek to use eminent domain powers to force landowners to sell access to their property for the project. At the time, it said it had only reached agreements for about 40% of the needed land.
The plan to use eminent domain has been extremely controversial, and the Iowa Utilities Board said it will not consider establishing a hearing date until Summit finishes submitting the proposed eminent domain property list.
Donnelle Eller covers agriculture, the environment and energy for the Register. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-284-8457.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Regulators plan Summit pipeline hearing at Webster County Fairgrounds