Rural Matters

Pipeline Update and March Legislation Retrospective

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With the second funnel week concluding March 31, this is an important week for proposed bills to make it through committee to have a chance to become law.

  • Eminent Domain HF 565 passed the House last week and was sent to the Senate. The Senate must act this week to keep this bill alive. 
  • Rural hospitals are bolstered by additional government funding.
  • Landus PAC continues to work for the farmer-owner. 

Updates as of 03/28:

Landus Political Action Committee

The Landus Political Action Committee (PAC) ensures Landus farmer-owners, employees, and rural communities have a strong voice in Iowa’s and our nation’s government. 

Rural Emergency Hospital Legislation Continues to Advance 

This week, the Senate unanimously approved Senate File 75: a bill to license Rural Emergency Hospitals in Iowa and classify them as standalone emergency rooms. This bill financially strengthens rural hospitals; with this designation, they will receive additional federal money to continue rural emergency services. Rural hospitals will receive an extra 5% from the Medicare patients they treat. The bill is on its way to Gov. Kim Reynold’s desk where it’s likely to be signed into law.

There are still some details and rule-making decisions that need to be ironed out, so this change wouldn’t be immediate. In short, expect the viability of rural healthcare to strengthen. 

Annexation of farmers to smaller communities 

While this topic is not in the legislature — we understand the concern all our farmer-owners may have on urban expansion and the effects for agriculture. Landus is keeping an eye on this issue: Read more about the topic here

Discussion: Eminent Domain

The Iowa House passed HF 565, on Wednesday, March 22. The vote results showed strong bi-partisan support for protecting landowners' rights over Eminent Domain usage on a private for-profit CO2 pipeline project. This legislation states that pipeline companies would need to obtain 90% voluntary easements of the land on its route before seeking eminent domain use on the remaining 10% of the project. 

The ethanol industry and the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association funded a study to promote concern that not building the pipeline threatens the future of the ethanol industry in Iowa. While the report is effective in raising concerns — it should be noted that ethanol has just completed a record year of profits and volume production without a CO2 pipeline. 

It is correct that a reduced carbon fuel would help the industry — but is the CO2 pipeline the best avenue to accomplish this? Landus believes the solution to create low carbon fuel lies in our farmer owners. Why not reward farmers for their efforts in producing and marketing low carbon crops to make this low carbon fuel — instead of rewarding wealthy individuals who are profiting from a questionable and expensive project funded by us, the taxpayers. 

The critical question for the legislature is — how will they protect individuals' property rights? If eminent domain is allowed for the CO2 pipeline which is a private, for-profit project, then property rights for all landowners are in danger of continued abuse with future projects. 

At our Innovation Connector events this past week we asked attendees their opinion on the eminent domain issue. The results were 70% opposed to the use of eminent domain for the CO2 pipeline project and 30% in favor. 

Innovation Connector Events

If you are at the Innovation Connector events this Wednesday, March 29, or Thursday, March 30, Sue Tronchetti is available to answer all your questions about the policy in government that concerns the future of rural communities. Stop by and cast your kernel and voice your comments, questions, and concerns with us! 

Working together on rural matters.