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Letter to the Editor: CO2 pipelines are unnecessary and ill-advised

By Kathy Carter, Rockford

Regarding the CO2 pipelines:

1) These projects are completely unnecessary. Daily, there’s new technology being developed on alternate uses/ ways to mitigate the CO2. The pipelines will rapidly become obsolete.

2) An ISU professor did a study and determined that the amount of CO2 captured at ethanol plants (if capture was at 100%) would equal less than three-tenths of 1% of the total U.S. transportation emissions.

3) There is firstly a huge carbon footprint to offset, considering all the components, the installation, and the operation of the pipeline. Compressors at the capture sites and valves along the thousands of miles of route will create a huge electrical demand. Additionally, a large demand on water for the operation and then disposal of the toxic, chemical-laden waste water.

4) Some ethanol plants were already capturing/mitigating on site – until the lure of the “carbon-neutral” market (think buying & selling of carbon credits) and the “sell ethanol at a premium rate” discussion began. Markets like California and some other states will theoretically purchase the ethanol at a premium rate (same fuel, but higher priced now that it’s supposedly “carbon-free”) – which will actually result in higher prices at their pumps and eventually at ours. However, California has enacted moratoriums on the CO2 pipelines and as we all know, is moving away from fossil fuels and to alternate power supply.

5) The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 increased the tax credits to these pipeline projects by nearly double (our taxpayer dollars). That increase changed the pipeline companies’ conversation from “saving the climate” to [supposedly] “saving ethanol.” The pipeline companies now tell our legislators that they wouldn’t be pursuing these projects at all if it wasn’t for the tax credits.

6) The IRA also included language that said the capture equipment must be “designed” to capture “up to 75%” of emissions – but nothing said about monitoring or enforcing.

7) Their claims that counties will receive millions of property tax dollars cannot be substantiated; some counties have tried but cannot verify the pipeline company figures. In the meantime, the pipelines depreciate annually.

8 ) One of the biggest investors in Summit is Continental Resources, an oil fracking company. Since Summit’s end point is very near the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota, the assumption is that the CO2 will eventually, in spite of their claims, be used for enhanced oil recovery, which creates 1½ times more CO2, completely defeating the theory of combating climate change.

There are just too many reasons why these should not receive permits.

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