# Safety



Summit Carbon hearings: Who's behind the curtain?

Nancy Dugan lives in Altoona, Iowa and has worked as an online editor for the past 12 years. 

Last week, North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley denied a request from three counties in the state to investigate Summit Carbon Solutions’ investors. A new statute in North Dakota, which went into effect on August 1, tightens restrictions on foreign ownership of land in that state, among other measures.

But Summit Carbon Solutions, LLC as it exists today was formed in Delaware in 2021, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s database of business entities. (That database shows the Summit Carbon Solutions, LLC created in Iowa in 2020 as “inactive.”) Wrigley explained in a recent letter to county commissioners that the effective date of the new legislation means “this office is unable to conduct a civil review of the company.”

Wrigley’s argument underscores one of the more disturbing aspects of the Summit Carbon matter, which is the false premise that state and local governments are powerless to regulate a Delaware LLC whose ownership structure remains largely a mystery, and whose own legal arguments identify the pipeline it proposes to build as a security threat.

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Iowa Senator Adrian Dickey arrested during RAGBRAI

Republican State Senator Adrian Dickey was arrested on July 24 and charged with interference with official acts after he refused to move along a Sac County road during the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI).

According to a complaint signed by Sgt. Jonathan Meyer of the Sac County Sheriff’s office, Dickey was among a large group of bicycle riders who “had stopped in the middle of the road” on Quincy Avenue. The complaint said after the group had been there for about an hour and a half, Meyer “advised a subject to move on as we needed to open the road.”

The individual refused to move and “advised me to arrest him,” Meyer wrote. The sergeant, who has specialized in traffic enforcement, then “advised him that the road way down the road was open and then could go that way.” But the subject (identified as Adrian Dickey) “kept arguing with me about what he was going to do.” The sergeant eventually arrested Dickey and took him to the Sac County jail, where he was charged with interference with official acts.

Sac County court records indicate that Dickey was released after posting a cash bond of $300.

Dickey could not immediately be reached for comment. This post will be updated if he responds to phone or email messages.

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When governing loses track of its purpose

Randy Evans is executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and can be reached at DMRevans2810@gmail.com

One of the photographs of my father that I clearly remember appeared on the pages of the Bloomfield Democrat about 60 years ago.

Pop was standing chest-deep in a hole that had been hastily dug in the street on the Bloomfield city square. His face was grim. There was urgent work to be done, because much of Bloomfield was without water. 

An underground main had broken a block from the city’s water tower. Water was gushing into the street and flooding basements of nearby businesses. 

There, in that hole with water pooled at his ankles, Pop shoveled muck and mud to expose the leaking pipe so it could be repaired. 

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Brenna Bird's free PR via a child ID program and two utility companies

Ian Miller is the author of The Scything Handbook (New Society Publishers, 2016). His writing has appeared in Mother Earth News, the apparently-now-defunct Permaculture Magazine and Seed Savers Exchange publications. He is a former semi-professional musician, having recorded and toured with numerous bands. Originally from Dubuque, he has lived in San Francisco and Austria and now resides in Decorah with his wife and two children.

On Thursday, May 18, I received an email from the Decorah Community School District’s superintendent. He wrote:

He included what appeared to be copy from a press release provided by Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird’s office:

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Republicans shatter another Iowa Senate norm

Iowa Senate debate on a proposal to relax child labor regulations stalled late in the evening of April 17, after the Republican floor manager Adrian Dickey and Majority Leader Jack Whitver refused to answer a Democratic senator’s questions about an amendment published earlier in the day.

After hours of delay, the Senate resumed its work and approved the child labor bill (Senate File 542) shortly before 5:00 am on April 18, with Republicans Charlie McClintock and Jeff Taylor joining all Democrats in opposition.

The snag in last night’s proceedings is not limited to one controversial issue.

According to Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls, Whitver told him Senate Republicans would no longer answer questions during floor debate, in light of a recent Iowa Supreme Court decision. That ruling (known as LS Power) has also made Iowa House Republicans more cautious about answering questions in public, a debate on a firearms bill revealed last week.

The majority party’s new approach could leave Iowa lawmakers less informed as they vote on complex legislation. Floor debate may be the only time Democrats can clarify their understanding of certain provisions, since managers’ amendments containing big changes sometime appear just hours before a vote on final passage. Over the next few weeks, Senate Republicans are expected to unveil their spending plans for fiscal year 2024 right before lengthy budget bills are bought to the chamber floor.

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Corporations exploit CO2 pipeline regulatory gaps in tax credit gold rush

Carolyn Raffensperger is the executive director of the Science & Environmental Health Network. Sheri Deal-Tyne is a researcher for the Science & Environmental Health Network.

A contentious battle wages in the Midwest, Gulf states, and California over Carbon Capture and Storage and siting of CO2 pipelines. One key issue in the battle: the federal pipeline regulatory agency, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), does not have regulations in place that can assure the safety of these extraordinarily dangerous pipelines. PHMSA itself acknowledges that CO2 pipelines are underregulated, and the agency currently lacks the technical knowledge required to inform minimum safety standards.

The Inflation Reduction Act, which Congress approved and President Joe Biden signed in August, is driving the rush to site these pipelines. That law unleashed a gold rush in 45Q tax credits for carbon capture and storage, and the thousands upon thousands of miles of CO2 pipelines, which would be required to transport the CO2 away from facilities where the CO2 is captured to the disposal or usage sites in distant states.

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