The Rich Men of Des Moines

Tensions rise in the heartland as Iowa’s political A-List conspires to build a controversial carbon capture pipeline that benefits no one but themselves.


For the past few days, a relatively unknown country music singer named Oliver Anthony has captured America’s attention with a breakout song called “Rich Men North of Richmond”, a cri de coeur that laments the sad state of America’s working class while the elites of DC enrich themselves:

Oliver Anthony Play Concert in Moyock, North Carolina: Review – Billboard

Livin’ in the new world 

With an old soul

These rich men north of Richmond

Lord knows they all just wanna have total control

Far away from Anthony’s hometown in central Virginia, those lyrics could easily apply to an ongoing drama that is playing out in the fields of rural Iowa.  Normally my home state only makes national headlines every four years, when aspiring presidential candidates descend on the State Fair and are compelled to endure the strange yet oddly satisfying ritual of eating fried food on a stick.  However today Iowa is becoming a battleground between a “Who’s Who” of the state’s political insiders who want to build three carbon capture and storage (CC&S) pipelines, and a grassroots resistance of local farmers who are pulling out all the stops to prevent it from happening.

Of the three pipeline projects, the most contentious is operated by a company called Summit Carbon Solutions.  Summit’s pipeline, if regulatory approval is received, would extend for 2,100 miles and operate under extremely high pressure in order to transport carbon dioxide (CO2) waste emissions from ethanol plants throughout four Midwestern states to a storage site deep underground in the remote oilfields of North Dakota, north of Bismarck.  Read more