Republicans angry the party they voted for was giving companies tax credits to take farmland to build carbon capture pipelines let their representative know it at her first town hall of the year.
Fewer than 20 Iowans made it to a Monday morning town hall in Grundy Center put on by US Rep. Ashley Hinson. But three of them asked her specifically about whether she’d help stop three companies from trying to take farmland for the pipelines.
Summit Carbon Solutions, Navigator CO2 Ventures and Archer Daniel Midlands Co. (ADM)/Wolf Carbon Solutions want to build three separate pipelines across Iowa that will be used to move carbon dioxide captured from the ethanol-making process.
One speaker, Kim, said she and her husband farm land between Grundy and Butler counties and was a lifelong Republican, but said “lately I’ve been discouraged” Republicans didn’t seem to care about whether the companies use eminent domain to take their land.
“Frankly, they’re a big scam and a boondoggle,” she said of the pipelines. “The only reason these are being built is to cash in on the tax (credits).”
For its part, Summit officials have said the company could accumulate as much as $600 million a year in tax credits.
Around 20 at first @RepAshleyHinson town hall of 2023. 9:30 am Monday in Grundy Center.
Biggest issue was land rights — folks are solidly against 3 companies trying to take farmland for pipelines.
And they know/named the investment firms behind them (Blackrock, etc.) pic.twitter.com/5suPSLmgtK
— Amie Rivers (@amierrivers) February 13, 2023
Another farmer, Theresa, said she was currently being sued by Summit for her land in Hardin County. She said she was concerned about “safety, the drainage” and “who they’re going to sell the pipelines to.”
“I don’t want their money—I don’t care how much money they offer me. I don’t want their pipeline,” she said. “But they will go to eminent domain if we let them do that.”
Summit Agriculture Group CEO Bruce Rastetter has donated millions to Republican candidates, including tens of thousands to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ 2018 and 2022 campaigns. Representatives with both Summit and ADM were appointed by Gov. Kim Reynolds to seats on the state’s carbon sequestration task force in 2021.
Hinson noted the state was “like it or not, heavily reliant” on the ethanol industry. Around 57% of Iowa’s corn crop is used for ethanol production alone, accounting for 27% of the nation’s total ethanol supply.
“I am very leery of eminent domain,” she said, noting she was “happy to look at all of these tax credits.”
Pro-life after birth?
One speaker asked Hinson about her “pro-life” stance once a fetus is born: “After the birth of a child, what are you specifically doing to sustain life?”
Hinson mentioned the Providing for Life Act, a combination of existing and new legislation that would expand the Child Tax Credit and expand WIC. It would also let new parents finance their own parental leave by pulling money from their Social Security, and give Title X money to crisis pregnancy centers that discourage women from having abortions.
“There’s not a government solution to everything, and I’ve been very, very clear about that,” she said. “But I want to make sure that we’re helpful where we can be.”
Marriage Act vote was ‘constitutional’ issue, not value vote
Hinson also made it clear her yes vote for the Respect for Marriage Act, which a speaker from Dysart said he was “disappointed” by, was purely technical in nature.
“I saw (it) as a constitutional issue for contracts,” she said, noting the vote was because “states should recognize court as well as contract action from other states,” like birth certificates, marriage certificates and concealed carry permits. “In line with that, that was why I supported that bill.”
She then talked about “religious liberty protection” and noted part of the bill “protects churches.”
“That’s important to me: I’m Christian, my church—we believe marriage is between a man and a woman,” she said, adding it was “why I voted against the Equality Act” two years ago. The Equality Act would have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity and sexual orientation for federally-funded programs.
by Amie Rivers
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