OMAHA (AP) — The companies working to build pipelines to capture carbon dioxide produced by ethanol plants and transport it as a liquid under high pressure to permanent storage deep underground may face opposition from farmers and environmental groups in Nebraska and Iowa.
One of the companies, Summit Carbon Solutions, has already started contacting landowners in the states it plans to cross with the $4.5 billion project, including landowners in Northeast Nebraska. The Ames, Iowa, based company is also holding public meetings about the project in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota.
That Alden, Iowa-based company is planning to build 314 miles of pipeline to six ethanol plants as part of a $4.5 billion carbon-capture project covering five Midwestern states.
Dallas-based Navigator CO2 Ventures is also planning a five-state carbon dioxide pipeline that would extend from near Sioux City, Iowa, to an ethanol plant in Albion, Nebraska, as part of its 1,200-mile carbon-capture project. Some fertilizer plants may be added as customers as well.
Supporters of the projects, which include the Nebraska Ethanol Board, said the pipelines would lower the carbon impact of producing the corn-based fuel and help it meet goals California and Oregon have adopted for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat global warming.
“This is a critical step to ensure the long-term viability of ethanol,” said Jesse Harris, a spokesperson for Summit Carbon Solutions.
But officials with the Nebraska chapter of the Sierra Club and Bold Nebraska, which fought against the Keystone XL oil pipeline, told the Omaha World-Herald they would oppose the carbon dioxide pipelines because of concerns about the safety risks of a leak and the lack of state regulations of them.
“CO2 pipelines are a questionable attempt to prop up fossil fuels by taking advantage of government subsidies while providing a pretense that they are environmentally friendly,” said Ken Winston of the Nebraska Sierra Club.
Jimmy Powell, Summit’s chief operating officer, told the Des Moines Register the Iowa company would use only “best practices” to ensure the pipeline’s safety.