March 31, 2023

Carbon capture pipelines

By Jon Dunwell

Why are carbon capture pipelines being proposed in Iowa? It’s a big question many in Iowa are appropriately asking.

It starts with the business environment created by the Biden Administration. They have a goal of a 50 percent reduction (from 2005 levels) of carbon emissions by 2030, with complete elimination by 2050. The full policy-making body in the Federal Government is working toward reaching these goals, using every lever at its disposal.

Furthermore, as evidenced by the Inflation Reduction Act, the Federal Government has decided they will incentivize green energy (15-35 percent government subsidies) and disincentivize carbon-based energy. $369B has been authorized for spending in energy and climate change. Billions of dollars have been made available for carbon capture, transport, and sequestering through 45Q and 45Z tax credits. The reality of the carbon capture industry, investment and pipelines is in direct response to the markets created (carbon capture) and the threats to existing markets (ethanol and farming) of President Biden’s policy and budget initiatives.

I oppose the current anticarbon capture pipeline legislation offered in the House and have proposed replacing it with a Landowners Bill of Rights. I also believe we need to begin a review of our current code around…

• The utilization of eminent domain and the rights of property owners

• The role of private for-profit companies in such projects

• Iowa’s understanding of common usage/good (The Federal Government and Supreme Court have a broad interpretation)

With our continued movement toward wind and solar, the need to replace older pipelines, and the pending demands for greater power transmission, we will continually encounter these issues in years ahead. We need to take the time to develop a policy that will last for the next 40 years. Passing legislation mid-project that only addresses carbon capture is bad business, short-sited and bad policy.

Until that can be done, our landowners need greater protection. In conjunction with other legislators and with input from landowners impacted by the proposed pipeline, we instead propose a Landowner Bill of Rights (check out for specifics).

We need to address the larger issue of the utilization of eminent domain and private property rights and ensure safety concerns are addressed. It’s an important discussion that requires something more than the current legislation offers.