Carbon capture in Iowa

There is an ancient Lakota prophecy about a black snake that would slither across the land, desecrating the sacred sites and poisoning the water before destroying the Earth.

The following Includes remarks by my friends Sikowis Nobiss (Great Plains Action Society), Lee Tesdell, Ed Fallon (Bold Iowa).

Great Plains Action Society

December 2 at 4:16 PM 

Great Plains Action Society is firmly opposed to so-called carbon capture and sequestration or storage (CCS) projects such as the proposed Summit Midwest Carbon Express. ⁣⁣

The reasons for our opposition are numerous, however, our greatest concern is that CCS only serves the interests of the fossil fuel industry. Carbon capture and sequestration is by design a way to prolong the usage of fossil fuels while reducing CO2 emissions. Amidst this climate emergency we must demand a reduction and phasing out of fossil fuels as a wider part of a just transition. ⁣⁣

We are also concerned about intense water usage as drought and warmer temperatures are greatly affecting access to clean water. Fossil fuel companies have known that their products were contributing to climate change for over forty years and now they see CCS as a government bail out with many governmental subsidies providing just the type of perverse incentive for CCS operators to manipulate the system. ⁣⁣

Additionally, there are the same concerns present with other pipeline projects in the area regarding degradation of the land, disturbance of sacred ceremonial and burial sites. CCS is greenwashing rather than a solution to the climate emergency that Iowans deserve, as Indigenous people we remain committed to the water, the land and the future generations of Iowans.⁣⁣

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
No more public dollars for false carbon storage solutions
Target: Iowa Utilities Board

The background:

Summit Carbon Solutions (aka Bruce Rastetter – Iowa factory farm & ethanol baron) has now started the process for approval of a CO2 pipeline from Iowa to North Dakota, where the CO2 will be buried (or possibly used for fracking). This pipeline will impact at least 30 Iowa counties. Summit is likely to rely on eminent domain to secure the land easements needed to bury much of the pipeline.

Summit intends to obtain the CO2 from Iowa ethanol plants and other industrial polluters in Iowa, and then sell the ethanol to California and other states that have a low carbon fuel standard. The claim is that by sequestering the CO2 from the ethanol plants, the ethanol becomes low carbon fuel and in the process overall emissions are lowered (all while Rastetter and these industries siphon off a bunch of public money and investment that should go towards proven climate solutions).

In reality – Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) is just the latest money making scheme to greenwash fossil fuel pollution and allow dirty industries to continue business as usual. This Top 5 list from our friends at Food & Water Watch is a great resource:

  1. Carbon Capture is an Expensive Failure
  2. Carbon Capture is Energy Intensive
  3. Carbon Capture Actually Increases Emissions
  4. Storage Presents Significant Risks
  5. Carbon Capture Trades Off with Other Critical Solutions (and delays a true clean energy future)

Not enough info you say? Even more reading on why CCS is a bad idea from F&WW here and from Greenpeace here.

Beyond the economics, corporate control, climate/environmental and land use issues is there a human cost or risk from this pipeline?

Glad you asked! A recent CO2 pipeline break in Mississippi led to mass poisoning of one community and is still under investigation:

Why now?

Rastetter and Summit Carbon Solutions filed paperwork for their pipeline permit with the Iowa Utilities Board a week ago. That means that over the coming month, they will be holding initial public meetings in all 30 counties impacted by the pipeline. This is the first step in the permitting process, and will be a barometer for the resistance or support this project will face. Check out the proposed pipeline path for yourself here.

Take Action:

CCS schemes only serve to prop up polluting industries and pad the profits of fossil fuel profiteers by siphoning off public money on expensive “technology” that doesn’t reduce carbon emissions. We call on Bruce Rastetter and Summit Carbon to drop their polluting pipeline plans. We call on the Iowa Utilities Board to deny Summit Carbon’s hazardous liquid pipeline permit application. And we call on Iowa’s elected officials and decision makers to take a stand against this pipeline and to invest in a 100% renewable future that benefits 100% of the people.

Iowa CCI Action
Des Moines, IA

To: Iowa Utilities Board
From: Jeff Kisling

Iowans have a right to clean air, water, and a habitable environment. To get there we need a just transition to a 100% carbon-free energy system. We want our public tax dollars invested into proven and cost-effective technologies needed to get there such as wind and solar. We demand that you reject unproven, costly, and dangerous projects like the Summit Carbon Solutions CO2 pipeline. Which would ultimately prop up fossil fuel extraction and destructive industrial agriculture practices.

We have little time left for the mass mobilization of resources needed to transition to carbon-free energy and the conservation practices that are proven to reduce emissions and sequester carbon. We are calling on you to rule with the majority of Iowans rather than wealthy campaign contributors like Bruce Rastetter and reject the proposed Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline.

Critics of a proposed $4.5 billion pipeline project say Iowa Utilities Board members appointed by former Gov. Terry Branstad have a conflict of interest and should recuse themselves from decisions about the project, which has hired Branstad as an adviser.

Summit Carbon Solutions wants to build a pipeline, called the Midwest Carbon Express, across 30 counties in Iowa to capture carbon emissions from ethanol and other industrial agriculture plants, compress it into a liquid and transport it to North Dakota for permanent sequestration a mile underground.

At a Sept. 13 meeting in Ames, Lee Tesdell, a central Iowa farmland owner, asked whether any of the Iowa Utilities Board members were appointed by Branstad and whether they would recuse themselves from making a decision about whether Summit should receive a permit to build nearly 710 miles of pipeline across Iowa.

TesdelI, whose central Iowa farm is not in the pipeline’s pathway, said he believes board members Branstad appointed have a conflict of interest. “Either Branstad should resign from the Midwest Carbon Express team or they (board members) should recuse themselves,” he said.

Ed Fallon, a former state representative and vocal Dakota Access pipeline opponent, said he believes the Iowa Utilities Board members should recuse themselves. “Given their high-salary positions, they’re beholden to Branstad, and that gives the impression that they would be inclined to vote his way,” Fallon said.

Critics of $4.5 billion carbon capture pipeline say Branstad appointees have conflict, should recuse themselves by Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register, Sept 20, 2021

No photo description available.

“I, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations, ask you to understand an Indigenous perspective on what has happened in America, what we call “Turtle Island.” My words seek to unite the global community through a message from our sacred ceremonies to unite spiritually, each in our own ways of beliefs in the Creator.”

“There needs to be a fast move toward other forms of energy that are safe for all nations upon Mother Earth. We need to understand the types of minds that are continuing to destroy the spirit of our whole global community. Unless we do this, the powers of destruction will overwhelm us.”

“To us, as caretakers of the heart of Mother Earth, falls the responsibility of turning back the powers of destruction. You yourself are the one who must decide.”

“You alone – and only you – can make this crucial choice, to walk in honor or to dishonor your relatives. On your decision depends the fate of the entire World.”

Important Message from Keeper of Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe. I, Chief Arvol Looking Horse ask you to understand an Indigenous perspective on what has happened in America, what we call “Turtle Island.” by CHIEF ARVOL LOOKING HORSE, Indian Country Today, Sept 7, 2017


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