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Proposed Pipeline Projects to Sequester Carbon Dioxide Opposed

03/20/2023

Previously EGG-NEWS reported on proposals to pipe carbon dioxide produced by ethanol plants in Midwest states to the High Plains where sequestration at more than a mile underground could be accomplished. The permitting of pipelines is now actively opposed by landowners who fear possible rupture with discharge of carbon dioxide. Those farming above the strata proposed for disposal are concerned over upward migration and contamination of aquifers with carbon dioxide resulting in acidification.  This would be deleterious for both agriculture and livestock production.

 

The project to establish pipelines with sequestration followed an extensive evaluation by the Department of Energy in 2021. The motivation for an extensive system of pipelines raises a significant question as to the current methods for disposal of carbon dioxide produced by ethanol plants.  When fermented, corn producers equal quantities of ethanol, dried distillers grains and carbon dioxide.  If this greenhouse gas is not disposed of in an environmentally acceptable manner, it is deleterious to the environment. Release of large quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by ethanol plants belies the contention that fuel ethanol is beneficial to the environment.  Do we have a situation in which the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency are working at cross purposes?  Disposal of carbon dioxide should have been considered and resolved before ethanol plants were designed and erected. Is this problem analogous to the failure to develop an acceptable program of disposal of nuclear waste from generating plants that were established 65 years ago?