In the event of a carbon pipeline rupture or leak, an explosive plume of CO2 gas can emerge, odorless and colorless, an asphyxiant that can suffocate all living beings, and prevent combustion vehicles like cars from starting to enable an escape to safety. At concentrations between 2-10%, CO2 can cause nausea, dizziness, headache, mental confusion, increased blood pressure and respiratory rate. Above 8%, nausea and vomiting appear. Above 10%, suffocation and death can occur within minutes. Contact with the cold gas can cause freezing of exposed tissue. Moisture in the air can lead to formation of carbonic acid that can irritate the eyes. CO2 is heavier than air and will accumulate in low lying areas.
- A CO2 pipeline in Satartia, Mississippi ruptured last year, sickening dozens of people, causing some to appear as “zombies” and foam at the mouth, dazed from the asphyxiant gas, according to witnesses. READ: “The Gassing Of Satartia” (Huffington Post, August 2021)
- In order to transport the carbon via pipeline, it must be liquified and pressurized at 3 times the rate of natural gas.
[Gas = 200–1500 psi; CO2 = 1200–2800 psi]
#2 EMINENT DOMAIN ABUSE
Landowners who have valid concerns may have no say whether a carbon pipeline company can build through their property. Concerns for their families’ safety; and impacts on their livelihoods, both from a pipeline explosion, and damages to crops, topsoil lands and waterways during construction and decades of maintenance. With almost zero regulation on the books for these new carbon pipelines, the final negotiations and the most potentially impactful might end up being directly between these corporations and landowners, who are facing down eminent domain condemnation of their property if they refuse to sign an easement.
All pipeline builders claim early in the process that they desire to “work with landowners” — including these proposed carbon pipelines — but ultimately this is all part of their ploy, as the threat of taking you to court to simply take your land via eminent domain always lurks during any easement “negotiations.”
In Iowa, a total of *nineteen counties* so far have passed resolutions or ordinances opposing the use of eminent domain and voicing other concerns about these proposed carbon pipelines:
- Palo Alto
READ: Iowa landowners have raised strong concerns at dozens of public hearings on these proposed carbon pipelines that are mandated by that state’s Iowa Utilities Board, before they can use eminent domain in Iowa:
- Ames Tribune: Story County supervisors to condemn possible use of eminent domain for two pipelines
- Des Moines Register: Carbon pipeline company continues fight to keep all property owner names on planned Iowa route secret
- Bloomberg: Biggest-Ever Carbon Capture Project Facing Midwest Opposition
- Reuters: Giant pipeline in U.S. Midwest tests future of carbon capture
- NWestIowa.com: Navigator pipeline questioned by landowners
- The Hawk Eye: Navigator CO2 Venture’s Heartland Greenway pipeline meets skepticism in Des Moines County
- The Gazette: Hundreds of Linn County residents gather to grill Navigator about CO2 pipeline
- KCRG: People frustrated with past pipeline projects express concerns over potential new 1,300-mile ‘Heartland Greenway’ pipeline
- Radio Iowa: Woodbury County residents express concern about carbon dioxide pipeline
- CBS14: Landowners voice concerns over new proposed CO2 pipelines for Woodbury Co.
- Iowa Capital Dispatch: Pipeline opponents protest Rastetter at rural forum
- Sioux City Journal: Landowners seek answers to CO2 pipeline questions
- NWestIowa.com: Iowans pushing back on CO2 pipelines
#3 DAMAGE TO TOPSOIL & CROP LOSSES
Based on the experience with Dakota Access, the fertility of cropland can be adversely impacted for several (or perhaps many) years.
- A 2021 Iowa State University study found “extensive soil disturbance from construction activities had adverse effects on soil physical properties, which come from mixing of topsoil and subsoil, as well as soil compaction from heavy machinery.” “Overall, in the first two years, we found the construction caused severe subsoil compaction, impaired soil physical structure that can discourage root growth and reduce water infiltration in the right-of-way,” said the lead soil physicist on the project. “They also found changes in available soil water and nutrients. The team found crop yields in the right-of-way were reduced by an average of 25% for soybeans and 15% for corn during the first and second crop seasons, compared to undisturbed fields.”
- WATCH: Video presentation with Iowa landowners’ attorney Janet Holmes, documenting with slides the topsoil compaction and other destruction of farmland witnessed during construction of the Dakota Access pipeline: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_fiqcylIzo)
#4 NO REGULATIONS FOR CARBON PIPELINES
Unlike for oil and gas pipelines (for which statutory landowner protections are also inadequate), it appears that under the current regulatory structure in Nebraska, zero regulation exists for carbon pipelines. This means these carbon pipeline companies do not have to apply for any route permit required by the Nebraska Public Service Commission, or under go the usual months-long hearing process and review before seeking to use eminent domain to take land for their projects.
With no state or federal oversight of carbon pipelines in Nebraska, decisions on whether to allow construction could be left up to County Boards, made in all-backroom deals happening now, where landowners and impacted community members have zero input — no required public hearings, or opportunities for public comment on the record. The final negotiation and the most potentially impactful will be between corporations and landowners, who are facing down eminent domain condemnation of their property if they refuse to sign an easement.
The “carbon capture” boondoggle enables Big Oil & Gas (and even coal) to keep drilling, burning, and increasing emissions, while failing as a technology to actually help reduce emissions and the impacts of climate change.
- READ: Despite extensive support, of projects that seek to commercialize carbon capture and sequestration technology, 80 percent have ended in failure.
- Between 2005 and 2012, the Dept. Of Energy spent $6.9 billion attempting to demonstrate the feasibility of CCS for coal, but little came of this investment, and between 2014 and 2016, less than 4 percent of the planned CCS capacity was deployed.
- Uncertain storage prospects create a conundrum for carbon capture and storage ambitions
- ‘A shocking failure’: Chevron criticized for missing carbon capture target at WA gas project
- A recent review of relevant research shows that due to the large amount of energy required to power carbon capture and the life cycle of fossil fuels, carbon capture in this country has actually put more CO2 into the atmosphere than it has removed.
#6 “ENHANCED OIL RECOVERY”
In CCUS = the “U” stands for “utilization,” meaning the the fossil fuel industry “utilizes” the captured CO2 to help frack for more oil in a process called “enhanced oil recovery.” How is this a “climate solution” if the captured CO2 is being used to drill for more oil? Which will lead to more burning, and more emissions? If climate change is an emergency, policymakers ought to treat it that way. It cannot be enough to slowly induce oil and gas companies to shift to more carbon-friendly practices, taking care not to unduly startle them. They must be jolted.
#7 IT’S A BOONDOGGLE / TAX SCAM
The U.S. Federal Tax credit program necessary to prop up carbon capture & storage technology is a scam.
- READ: “It is important to note that the credits under 45Q have a poor track record: A recent investigation by the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and commissioned by Senator Menendez found that 87% of tax credits awarded under 45Q were claimed improperly, without complying with the Environmental Protection Agencies monitoring, verification, and reporting requirements. It is unclear whether the companies claiming to store carbon are even doing so.”
- Of nearly $1 billion in carbon-capture tax credits sought through 2019, $893 million was submitted in ways that didn’t meet EPA rules.
- It’s estimated that these carbon pipelines could each seek and obtain at least $600 million per year in federal subsidies from the federal 45Q tax credit alone.
#8 LANDOWNERS: ALL RISK & NO REWARD
Carbon capture and storage and the vast network of new pipelines that would be required for this sham technology’s full implementation is once again seeing fossil fuel corporations, Big Oil & Gas, asking farmers & ranchers to shoulder a new risk and burden — just to help them clean up their own mess.
The only people making money on the carbon capture and pipeline scheme are the pipeline builders seeking federal tax credits, and the fossil fuel industry that gets one more lease on life to keep drilling, burning and increasing emissions. Meanwhile, landowners generally receive a measly one-time payment from pipeline companies to build an oil or gas (or carbon) pipeline on their land, while landowners with wind turbines or solar panels cited on their property are commonly paid annually in revenue-sharing agreements.
- Bold Nebraska will host meetings for impacted landowners and community members for these proposed carbon pipelines in Nebraska during February:
O’NEILL: Tuesday, Feb. 1 (12-1:30pm): O’Neill Community Center, 501 S 4th St
YORK: Thursday, Feb. 3 (12-1:30pm): Chances “R” Restaurant, 124 W 5th St
- *Are you a landowner who has already been contacted by Summit, Navigator, or Tallgrass? Please complete this survey.*
Bold Nebraska & Nebraska Easement Action Team (NEAT): Landowners Meeting: Carbon Pipelines in Nebraska (Feb. 2, 2022)
Des Moines Register overview on carbon capture technology and two proposed carbon pipelines in Iowa:
Pipeline Fighters Hub Briefing: Know Your Rights: Landowners & Interstate Carbon Pipelines (Nov. 20, 2021)
Pipeline Fighters Hub Briefing: Carbon Capture & CO2 Pipelines (Aug. 25, 2021)
Carbon Pipelines: Stories from Satartia