From time to time I like to go through the letters in support and opposition to the Carbon Capture Pipeline schemes planned for Iowa. And lately, a lot of letters supposedly in support of these projects have caught my eye. And someone somewhere should find out where they are coming from.
Take this letter, for example:
Jeff Taylor happens to be the name of the leading State Senator who is filing legislation opposed to the projects. Yet someone else named “Jeff Taylor” has written the above letter in support of the pipeline projects.
But this Jeff Taylor, according to his letter, doesn’t know where he lives. He claims to live in Palmyra, Iowa with the zip code 22963. But the problem with that is the zip code 22963 is for Palmyra — VIRGINIA.
It’s possible it was a typo. It’s possible Jeff Taylor simply made an error. But is it possible another letter with the same exact text as Taylor’s has an almost identical error?
Joe Gaines doesn’t seem to know where he lives either. Gaines wrote he is from Dalhart, Iowa with the zip code 79022. But the zip code 79022 is for Dalhart — TEXAS.
Once may be an accident. Twice may be a coincidence. But three times? Again, same text, same issue.
Justin Wallace claims to live in Claremore, Iowa with a zip code of 74019. The problem? Zip code 74019 is the zip code for Claremore — OKLAHOMA.
For the record, letter of support after letter of support has this issue. Same text, same problem. None of them appear to actually be from Iowa.
So where are these letters coming from? Who is submitting them? Is IUB aware these letters “in support” are actually fraudulent? Does IUB confirm any of these letters are from actual Iowans? Is there a penalty for filing fraudulent letters?
One wonders if these letters are being filed by people opposed to the pipeline projects to make the supporters look bad or if the supporters of the pipelines actually think Iowans are so stupid they will not recognize these fake letters of support.
According to Don Tormey, the director of communications for the Iowa Utilities Board, IUB vets all filed letters for profanity, threatening remarks and rejects those, but does not change the content of other filed comments or letters that are accepted and filed in the docket.
Tormey said numerous comments and letters are filed with the IUB every week using the IUB’s online open docket comment form. The form requires users to complete all fields, including the address, state and zip code.
“Regardless of the source, the IUB welcomes comments, objections and letters of support in open dockets pending before us,” Tormey said. “Including those from out of state.”
When asked if there are penalties for submitting false letters, Tormey referred us back to this answer:
- I’m wondering how IUB runs checks on the letters to make sure they are legitimate? The IUB vets all filed letters for profanity, threatening remarks, and rejects those, but does not change the content of other filed comments or letters that are accepted and filed in the docket.
By the way, Cooper Andersen may be our favorite fake.
As of today’s date (12/20/22) there have probably been upwards of 80-100 letters (I didn’t take time to count them all, but three more showed up today) that are these identical form letters, with mismatched towns & zips, or are obviously from far out-of-state. The ending line is always “Carbon capture is good for Iowa”. Tell me, how do people from Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida…on and on… know what’s good for Iowa????