Three companies, Summit Carbon Solutions, Navigator CO2 Ventures and Archer Daniel Midlands, partnering with Wolf Carbon Solutions, have proposed building 3218-km of pipelines in Iowa to transport carbon dioxide from ethanol and fertilized facilities.
The proposal has Iowa on edge with some questioning the need for such a facility that would invariably tear up valuable farmland and others championing the benefit of a pipeline that would liquify the carbon dioxide, transport it and ultimately inject it deep underground where it would be permanently sequestered.
Not surprisingly the issue has become politicized during the current campaign for the US Presidency in 2024 and now the state of Iowa will begin hearings on the matter. The hearings, which could last weeks, is a major test for the $5.5 billion pipeline proposed by Summit Carbon Solutions, and for Carbon Capture Storage (CCS), which the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden sees as a critical tool in fighting climate change.
The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB), which will decide whether to grant Summit's permit application, heard on Tuesday from landowners who have not signed agreements with Summit and could be forced under eminent domain law to hand over land if the project moves ahead.
The proposed pipeline routes could span six states, from the Dakotas down to Illinois. One of the pipeline companies boasts more than 2,500 landowners have signed on to its project. Many farmers in Iowa say they support ethanol, but they oppose carbon pipelines - not over carbon emissions, but over property rights. Northeast Iowa farmer Jeff Reints hauls practically all of his corn to an ethanol plant you can see from his farm. Reints was skeptical when he first heard of the pipelines. Then he learned that the nearby ethanol plant had signed onto one of the projects, and a pipeline would run through part of his farm.
Along with landowners and Summit, the IUB will hear from ethanol companies, counties, the Sierra Club, the Iowa Farm Bureau, and other parties during the hearing in Fort Dodge.
Summit recently faced a setback in North Dakota, when regulators on August 4 denied its permit application, saying the company had failed to prove that the pipeline would not hurt the state's citizens and environment. The company submitted a new application last Friday.