CO2 pipeline companies are having limited success in getting the land easements and permits they need to complete their projects. The EcoJustice Collaborative in Illinois reports regularly on CO2 progress in their blog -check it out at this link.
Pam Richart from EJC will be a panelist on Dec 4. She cofounded the Coalition to Stop CO2 pipelines in January, 2022. Since that time, she has been leading the campaign to stop CO2 pipelines throughout central Illinois. The coalition includes 13 organizations, and hundreds of active landowners along the pipeline route. The Coalition’s campaign includes education of landowners and elected officials that has led to the adoption of resolutions and moratoriums in impacted counties, and intervention before the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), which is where the pipeline can be stopped. The Coalition maintains a website that documents progress of the campaign, as well as includes resources for landowners, including webinars prepared by the Coalition.
In Iowa, the Sierra Club has taken the point in statewide work on the CO2 pipelines. Updates are posted on their website here. In October of 2022, we had Jess Mazour speak on pipelines - you can view the video of her talk at this post on the UMRR blog. On December 4, we will host Jan Norris, an activist from Montgomery County, Iowa, who will report from the frontlines of local pipeline opposition.
CURE has been following pipeline progress in Minnesota, and leads action through their project, Carbon Pipelines Minnesota. This webpage has information on current events in Minnesota.
Several of the pipeline projects are intended to transport CO2 from Iowa and Minnesota to North Dakota. North Dakota denied Summit's permit application in August, it's now being reproposed. This article on the Associated Press website says:
[The North Dakota utility regulators} last month unanimously denied Summit a siting permit for its 320-mile proposed route through the state, part of a $5.5 billion, 2,000-mile pipeline network that would carry planet-warming CO2 emissions from 30-some ethanol plants in five states to be buried deep underground in central North Dakota.
Supporters view carbon capture projects such as Summit’s as a combatant of climate change, with lucrative, new federal tax incentives and billions from Congress for such carbon capture efforts. Opponents question the technology’s effectiveness at scale and the need for potentially huge investments over cheaper renewable energy sources.
The panel denied the permit due to issues the regulators said Summit didn’t sufficiently address, such as cultural resource impacts, potentially unstable geologic areas and landowner concerns, among several other reasons.
The pipelines would pass through South Dakota, which also denied Summit Pipeline's permit application. This September 11 2023 article on the Associated Press website states that the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission unanimously turned the request down. Without access to the North Dakota CO2 depository, the pipeline projects have to keep redesigning their projects.
Why are carbon pipelines being proposed? Why are investors and the federal government putting money into these projects? We know that carbon in our atmosphere is causing the earth to warm, which will disrupt our climate and all life on earth. Reducing or eliminating carbon emissions is critical, and there are many different ideas about the best ways to do it. One controversial approach we've been taking for the past two decades is to switch from fossil fuels to 'biofuels' - ethanol and biodiesel. In this post on the UMRR Blog, we reported on a February 2022 report that looks at the utility of ethanol as an option for reducing carbon emissions.
The ethanol industry is seeking ways to improve its environmental performance, especially as relates to carbon emissions. One way to do this is to capture the carbon that is released into the atmosphere. The pipelines would move the captured and compressed CO2 to eventual storage and/or reuse. The first two short YouTube videos following provide some more background on why the ethanol industry sees carbon capture as a way forward. The third is a video that provides more information on the process of capturing carbon from industries.
Carbon capture is part of President Biden's climate plan. This link goes to an article in the MIT Review interview with Shuchi Talati, chief of staff at the Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. Here, Talati talks about the need to have a range of processes for reducing carbon. We have included a number of references at the end of this post that provide more information on pipeline technology and DOE work on carbon capture. Carbon pipelines are currently used in Texas to transport CO2 for use in extracting oil from spent oilfields, there are also links to information on this practice.
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