Understanding the Pipeline boondoggle

This presentation was originally presented to a Zoom audience. The Free Soil Foundation was impressed and, therefore, asked the presenter if we could share her information; she graciously agreed.

To view the companion text for each slide, click the green arrow.

Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 1
  • Carbon pipelines are A 2020 CO2 rupture in Mississippi proved that CO2 is heavier than air and is an asphyxiant, sending many to the hospital. 
  • People up to a mile away were injured & the CO2 can spread a quarter mile in 4 minutes.
  • Personnel were not trained nor prepared to help them. 
  • Emergency equipment would not operate without oxygen - ambulances wouldn’t run.
  • Because of this accident, PHMSA, the federal regulatory agency, determined that its current regulations are NOT ADEQUATE to protect the public and will release a draft of new regulations specific to CO2 pipelines this year.
  • Summit claims CO2 won’t hurt you unless the concentration is 50,000 ppm. But OSHA won’t let workers be exposed to 30,000 ppm for more than 10 minutes.
This presentation was originally presented to a Zoom audience.  It was so good that the Free Soil Foundation asked the presenter if we could share her information; she graciously approved.  

I am from Montgomery County. Thank you for wanting to learn about CO2 pipelines. The promo says boondoggle, so I will be a little biased tonight, however, please know I’d be happy to speak to your county or organization with just the facts.

More than two years ago my neighbors received certified letters in the mail notifying them of a potential carbon pipeline project. The Summit route is proposed between two of our farms and behind our house. Since then, the more I learned, the more concerned I became.

I am Jan Norris from Montgomery County. Thank you for wanting to learn about CO2 pipelines. The promo says boondoggle, so I will be a little biased tonight, however, please know I’d be happy to speak to your county or organization with just the facts.

More than two years ago my neighbors received certified letters in the mail notifying them of a potential carbon pipeline project. The Summit route is proposed between two of our farms and behind our house. Since then, the more I learned, the more concerned I became.

Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 1

Look closely at the white boundaries of the midwestern states. Three carbon pipeline routes were proposed to impact the six states on this map: Purple is Summit Carbon Solutions, Blue is Navigator CO2 Ventures, and Yellow is Wolf/ADM.

Summit proposes to ultimately terminate in North Dakota and the other two in Illinois. These states have the geology needed to sequester. North Dakota is one of three states that have “primacy”—meaning the EPA has given the state permission to oversee sequestration instead of federal oversight. Illinois has proven to be a more difficult path for Navigator and Wolf/ADM.

Initially there were 3 carbon pipeline projects proposed to cross Iowa. Navigator has since cancelled their project, citing an unpredictable regulatory environment, but they met heavy resistance by landowners in every state. 

Wolf, which was also rejected in IL last year, has vowed to continue their project despite the opposition.

Initially there were 3 carbon pipeline projects proposed to cross Iowa. Navigator has since cancelled their project, citing an unpredictable regulatory environment, but they met heavy resistance by landowners in every state.

Wolf, which was also rejected in IL last year, has vowed to continue their project despite the opposition.

The Iowa Utilities Board is the state agency approving or denying pipeline permits. Last fall it held the longest hearing in its history for Summit Carbon Solutions. While we’ve been waiting for the IUB to declare a ruling, Summit was signing contracts with POET and Valero ethanol plants across Iowa – ultimately adding 14 extensions to the pipeline amounting to more than 340 miles, making the total route in Iowa about 1,000 miles (these additions are highlighted in yellow). 

If you want to know what motivates me, look at the blue map - our house and farms are about a mile from where the two lines intersect in the bottom left corner.

The Iowa Utilities Board is the state agency approving or denying pipeline permits. Last fall it held the longest hearing in its history for Summit Carbon Solutions. While we’ve been waiting for the IUB to declare a ruling, Summit was signing contracts with POET and Valero ethanol plants across Iowa – ultimately adding 14 extensions to the pipeline amounting to more than 340 miles, making the total route in Iowa about 1,000 miles (these additions are highlighted in yellow). 

So what is CCUS - Carbon Capture Utilization & Storage?  Summit plans to capture CO2 as it’s produced at ethanol plants, pressurize it into a supercritical state, transport it over 2000 miles across 5 states, and then either inject it up to 2 miles underground to permanently sequester the CO2, or use it in enhanced oil recovery to extract fossil fuels like oil and methane from the ground.

So what is CCUS - Carbon Capture Utilization & Storage? Summit plans to capture CO2 as it’s produced at ethanol plants, pressurize it into a supercritical state, transport it over 2000 miles across 5 states, and then either inject it up to 2 miles underground to permanently sequester the CO2, or use it in enhanced oil recovery to extract fossil fuels like oil and methane from the ground.

Why?  There are billions of reasons. The federal government will reward them with 45Q tax credits. 
•	45Q was enacted in 2008 under George W Bush, ramped up during the Trump administration and recently enhanced under the Inflation Reduction Act. Hence, the election outcome this fall isn’t likely to change things. 
•	Payment will be by the ton. Permanent sequestration pays more, but Enhanced Oil Recovery is an option. 
•	Reporting is only by the honor system.

Why? There are billions of reasons. The federal government will reward them with 45Q tax credits.

• 45Q was enacted in 2008 under George W Bush, ramped up during the Trump administration and recently enhanced under the Inflation Reduction Act. Hence, the election outcome this fall isn’t likely to change things.

• Payment will be by the ton. Permanent sequestration pays more, but Enhanced Oil Recovery is an option.

• Reporting is only by the honor system.

But will the CO2 be permanently sequestered? Summit wants us to believe that is their intent, but testified during IUB hearing that they wouldn’t turn down a shipper looking to use it for enhanced oil recovery.
 
Just a couple of weeks ago, the North Dakota Mineral Resources Director said, “We've got to overcome this attitude of 'I don't want this CO2 coming through my backyard to get to North Dakota.' We are going to need everything we can get, from any place that will send it, if we want that extra 10 billion barrels of oil,"

But will the CO2 be permanently sequestered? Summit wants us to believe that is their intent, but testified during IUB hearing that they wouldn’t turn down a shipper looking to use it for enhanced oil recovery.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the North Dakota Mineral Resources Director said, “We've got to overcome this attitude of 'I don't want this CO2 coming through my backyard to get to North Dakota.' We are going to need everything we can get, from any place that will send it, if we want that extra 10 billion barrels of oil,"

These three projects are just the beginning. At a hearing in Des Moines last summer, the EPA panelist repeated a report by Princeton saying there could be as many as 60,000-90,000 more miles of CO2 pipeline proposed in the United States. 

Some are already being announced. When a new pipeline wants to start a project, the first place they look is next to an existing pipeline. Do we want Iowa to become a pipeline interstate?

These three projects are just the beginning. At a hearing in Des Moines last summer, the EPA panelist repeated a report by Princeton saying there could be as many as 60,000-90,000 more miles of CO2 pipeline proposed in the United States.

Some are already being announced. When a new pipeline wants to start a project, the first place they look is next to an existing pipeline. Do we want Iowa to become a pipeline interstate?

I was amused to learn there is a Museum of Failure. You might remember some entries: lawn darts, Betamax VCRs, or Crystal Pepsi. 

However, I was surprised to see in 2005, Corn Ethanol was inducted saying growing corn & turning it into fuel consumed so much energy that there were no real climate benefits.

I was amused to learn there is a Museum of Failure. You might remember some entries: lawn darts, Betamax VCRs, or Crystal Pepsi. 

However, I was surprised to see in 2005, Corn Ethanol was inducted saying growing corn & turning it into fuel consumed so much energy that there were no real climate benefits.

Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 12

At the IUB hearing last fall, Univ of Iowa Geographical and Sustainability Sciences Professor Silvia Sechhi pointed out the importance of building an off-ramp for ethanol so our farmers don’t fall off the cliff. 

Perhaps doubling down with a carbon pipeline is not a good idea?

Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 13

So what is the current status of the Summit project? Summit has submitted applications in the 4 states that have state utilities commission, and have NO PERMITS YET.  

When Summit filed in Iowa, they projected to be nearly operational by this time, so they are grossly behind schedule. 



Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 14

Some say North Dakota should have been the easiest state to get permits in, but the route was initially denied by the state's Public Service Commission. Summit was allowed reconsideration after rerouting around Bismark.

  • New hearings start next week - 4/22
  • Many Landowners who testified in the last hearing are no longer on the route 
  • At least one county has denied Summit’s injection well permits. 
  • A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of governing the use of underground pore space has been filed.
  • An investigation into Summit’s investors was requested but declined by the ND Atty General.



Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 15

Summit is also having a tough time in South Dakota. 

  • The Public Utilities Commission there initially denied Summit’s route 
  • Summit is expected to refile in the coming months
  • Opposition has only grown stronger. 
  • Hundreds of volunteers are collecting signatures for a pipeline ballot initiative so the people of South Dakota can have a voice in the process.



Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 16

In Iowa, Summit’s evidentiary hearing with the Iowa Utilities Board started in August where witnesses testified for 8 weeks. Never have I seen so many grown men moved to tears.

  • Only landowners along the route who haven’t signed easements were allowed to participate. Neighbors (like me), tenants and other parties were left out. Witness testimony can be watched on Bold Nebraska’s YouTube channel.
  • The public comment period scheduled by the former IUB chair was eliminated
  • The hearing produced over 7,500 pages of transcripts, more than 650 hearing exhibit files; & thousands of pages of pre-file testimony.
  • A spokesperson for the IUB says there is no deadline for a decision, but some speculate it could be by this summer. The board could grant the permit, grant it with modifications, or deny it. 
  • Summit has requested eminent domain as part of the permit. 
Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 17
  • Whether granted or denied, the Summit decision is likely to be appealed. 
  • If denied, Summit said in an interview that they would make changes & refile
  • And if approved, Summit said they will wait for approvals in South & North Dakota before starting construction in Iowa 
  • An appeal is anticipated if it is approved
  • This is why current bill HF2664 is so important - it would allow construction to be paused without a bond during the appeal
Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 18
  • Summit will also need additional permits in Iowa

    • WITHDRAWN 2 air quality permits
    • Only filed 2 DNR water permits (but there are 25 ethanol plants that will need additional water)
    • Have not filed for wastewater permits 
    • They Will have to obtain river crossing permits from the Army Corps of Engineer 
    • Local Road Crossing Permits will be needed in every county
Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 19
  • What are some of the drawbacks of this project? Other pipelines have shown that construction permanently damages the land, landowners can never build a house, make improvements, or even plant a tree along the route. Communities cannot expand. Fields are cut in half, trees & habitat are forever removed. 

    • The petition includes a request for use of eminent domain, which means if they cannot get all the landowners to voluntarily sign an easement, they can seize the property.
    • The public will pay in 45Q tax credits. 
    • It is not a climate change solution. 
    • And a recent rupture proves they are very dangerous.
Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 20

These photos from the Dakota Access pipeline demonstrate that pipeline installation is a major construction project that is still visible five years later. Can you see the diagonal route across the green field on the left? Look how many pieces of big, heavy equipment are needed. The lower photo looks more like a four-lane highway than a field.

Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 211

Eminent domain should not be used by private corporations to make money. The pipeline companies must convince the Iowa Utilities Board that this is a public use. 

  • Eminent Domain gives the government the power to take your property even if you don’t want to sell it. It must be for public use, which traditionally meant projects like roads or bridges, but the ethanol industry is trying to make the argument of economic importance. 
  • When condemned, owners must be paid “just compensation” for their property. A local board will decide its value. 
  • There is no minimum voluntary participation that allows eminent domain to be used
Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 1
  • Carbon pipelines are A 2020 CO2 rupture in Mississippi proved that CO2 is heavier than air and is an asphyxiant, sending many to the hospital. 
  • People up to a mile away were injured & the CO2 can spread a quarter mile in 4 minutes.
  • Personnel were not trained nor prepared to help them. 
  • Emergency equipment would not operate without oxygen - ambulances wouldn’t run.
  • Because of this accident, PHMSA, the federal regulatory agency, determined that its current regulations are NOT ADEQUATE to protect the public and will release a draft of new regulations specific to CO2 pipelines this year.
  • Summit claims CO2 won’t hurt you unless the concentration is 50,000 ppm. But OSHA won’t let workers be exposed to 30,000 ppm for more than 10 minutes.
Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 23

Just two weeks ago, there was ANOTHER CO2 leak, this time in Louisiana. Thankfully it was just a leak at a pumping station and not a rupture. 

A shelter-in-place order was issued. More than two hours passed after the call before the company with the proper equipment showed up to fix it. 

Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 24

In fact, here is a map logging all the MAJOR LEAKS just one CO2 carrier, Denbury, has REPORTED on their line down south, including Satartia, MS. Can you see all the yellow symbols?

Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 25

We recently learned about the amount of water the CO2 capture process will require. As we all know, Iowa’s water table is of concern when under drought conditions, communities have had to deal with water supply challenges.

  • Investigation has revealed that 13 individual Summit LLCs have been filed with the Iowa Sec of State. 
  • Two have filed for DNR water well permits: one for 55 mil gal/yr and the other for about 27 mil. The first was approved with what appears to be no real investigation, and the second held a hearing in October with robust public comment and has not taken action.
  • In March the Valero plant near Charles City sought to increase its municipal water usage up to 2 million gallons per day.
  • The DNR stated at a rules hearing last week they only approve an amount of water withdrawal for a city, they do not monitor how it is used.
  • In conclusion of their study, the University of California, Berkeley researchers said, “Large-scale deployment of carbon capture and storage could double the water footprint of humanity.”
Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 1

It is concerning that so many in Iowa’s government do not seem to be doing their job. 

  • The DNR issued a water permit without establishing the required new beneficial use category. An open records request discovered internal emails where they admitted not understanding. 
  • The Office of Consumer Advocate is supposed to be representing Iowan’s interests in utility cases, however, since the Governor’s reorganization bill last year, and a change in staff, the OCA testified that they 
    • did not know about the water usage issue until the hearing, 
    • did not conduct any economic analysis of pipeline benefits, 
    • nor did they make any determination of whether these projects meet public convenience or necessity. 
  • Leadership of the state senate last session refused to bring an eminent domain bill up in subcommittee that was passed in the house. 
  • Since the replacement of 2 of the 3 Iowa Utility Board members by Governor Reynolds last year, the Board fast-tracked the Phase I schedule.
Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 27

HF 2664 passed the House and may be heard by the Senate Ways & Means Committee. It establishes a declaratory order on eminent domain earlier in the process and most importantly, would eliminate the need for a huge bond to stay construction while being appealed.

Please contact your senator and tell them to support HF 2664, which would make the appeals process more fair. Sen. Dan Dawson will decide whether the bill is heard.

Update: The Senate adjourned the 2024 session without addressing HF2664.

Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 1

In Iowa, Shelby County has been proactive in protecting its citizens’ interests. The chair of their Supervisors put together a list of things he wished he’d known two years ago to share with counties that are just starting the process. 

Iowas Pipeline Boondoggle Slide 29

Summit must file for road crossing permits in every county in Iowa. Some savvy counties have examined and updated their policies to ensure better oversight, and reconsidered fee structures to recoup county expenses. Some told Summit to wait to file applications until they have an IUB permit in hand, and others have already issued road crossing permits before knowing what the IUB will do.

More coming soon.