Crazy CO₂ Pipelines, Green Finance in Farm Belt

Jan. 27, 2022 (EIRNS)—Over 400 Iowa farmers have filed objections to threats of eminent domain and are opposing and protesting the 1,200-mile carbon-capture pipeline system across five Midwest states to a permanent sequestration site in North Dakota.


Three companies, Valero Energy Corporation, BlackRock Global Energy & Power Infrastructure Fund II, and Navigator Energy Services, together, have teamed up with an Ames, Iowa, company, Summit Carbon Solutions, whose senior advisor is Terry Branstad, former Iowa Governor and Ambassador to China.

Carbon dioxide has many useful roles in the modern economy, not to mention as plant food, and the infrastructure for CO₂ includes, in some locations, pipelines and storage capacity. However, the three green CO₂ pipeline proposals now rightly contested in the Midwest states, centered in Iowa, are not only not useful; they are crazy and unproductive in the extreme. They should be cancelled immediately.

The four companies have CO₂ capture agreements with 31 biofuels plants and 20 fertilizer and ethanol plants, to transport their CO₂ to a destination where it will be sequestered underground. In the course of this, CO₂ burial certificates will be available as carbon credits for sale to other entities needing them, such as in California. This will supposedly benefit farmers by making the ethanol plants “green,” ensuring that their corn will still have a market. Those pushing the scheme say that without it, the ethanol plants may be shut down.

Farmers in the dozens of counties that the pipelines would cross are in revolt against the scheme and the whole damn pack of lies.

There are three schemes: An Iowa project, Midwest Carbon Express, envisions building 710 miles of pipeline across about one third of Iowa’s 99 counties. A second section would go into Minnesota and Nebraska. A third pipeline would connect the first two pipelines to pipelines passing through South Dakota and finally to North Dakota, where the CO₂ would be stored in underground caverns.

All told, the pipes would extend 2,000 miles and cost $6.5 billion. The pipelines would supposedly capture the carbon equivalent of over 25 million cars per year.

How would it get paid for? These companies would look to loans, hopefully government-backed, and “green investors”! John Deere & Co. is a “strategic investor,” and many ethanol plants have agreed to help finance this, as they will get added dollars from selling their low-carbon footprints. California currently pays $200 per metric ton for carbon credits and federal tax credits pay $50 per metric ton of carbon sequestered.

Ethanol is already wildly inefficient in physical-economic terms. These added incentives would continue to drive the economy towards wasteful processes of low energy-density.

Instead of burning corn and sending CO₂ thousands of miles away, use crops for food! The future of power lies in nuclear fusion, not shoveling your dinner into the gas tank. [rlb]

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  • Kevin Pearl
    published this page in Home 2022-01-28 17:18:19 -0500