Hat tip to eager reader Mike from Iowa!
A University of Iowa researcher shares my suspicion that the carbon-capture pipeline that SDGOP chair Dan Lederman wants to build across East River is just a moneymaking scheme for his rich Iowa cronies and not a sincere effort to reduce carbon emissions. Environmental engineer Chris Jones says the proposed Midwest Carbon Express pipeline may only delay our move to cleaner electric vehicles by propping up the oil industry:
“This is more of a strategy — it’s a lifeboat, if you will — for ethanol, which is now under some threat from electric vehicles emerging in their marketplace,” Jones said. “That’s what’s driving this.”
…“What’s bad is it distracts from other things that we should be doing to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases,” Jones said.
He also said that Midwest Carbon Express owner, Summit Carbon Solutions, could sell the carbon dioxide to oil companies in North Dakota, which would be directly anti-climate [Elijah Helton, “Scientist: CO2 Pipelines Are a ‘Scheme’,” NWestIowa.com, 2021.12.27].
But what about all that corn our farmers grow? Lederman’s pal and former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says in his paid cropaganda (on his blog, Jones also likes the term pipe-aganda) that opposing his employer’s carbon dioxide pipeline is part of an effort to destroy the ethanol industry and the value of corn-producing land.
Engineer Jones suggests the obvious and more ecologically and economically sound alternative: grow something else!
…“We used to be the number-one oat producing state and now Quaker Oats in Cedar Rapids buys all their oats from Canada. Well, why? The renewable fuels standard. It’s more convenient for the Iowa farmer to grow corn,” he said.
He said a more farsighted approach is needed instead of trying to use a second wrong to make a right.
“We really need to think about the system in a more holistic way here,” Jones said. “What is the system that we can design here for the long haul that’s going to be sustainable, both for farmers and the environment? If we’re just trying to throw a lifeboat to ethanol and kick the can down the road a few years with corn growing, that’s not exactly visionary thinking there” [Helton, 2021.12.27].
Besides, growing corn all the time reduces healthy practices like crop rotation. Instead of focusing on making Dan Lederman rich and feeding our cars a constant diet of corn, why not let farmers get back to feeding people and put oats, wheat, and hemp back into their rotations?
Related Reading: Engineer Jones blogs that Lederman and his cronies are preaching “phony sustainability” and fleeting sandwich sales to boost their dirty and federally subsidized bottom line:
If carbon capture from ethanol production is such a good idea, you might ask, why didn’t they do it decades ago when the industry was developed and when scientists knew pretty much all of what we know now about greenhouse gases and climate? Answer (a): because the suckers weren’t worried enough then. Answer (b): Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). Potential windfalls exist for the pipeliners if they can sell the CO2 to North Dakota oil drillers to help scavenge recalcitrant petroleum from geological formations that are nearly exhausted—a tradeoff that hardly is much of a climate change benefit for the public. A win-lose, in other words.
So buckle up for months of pipe-aganda about how journeyman and -woman pipefitters and earthmovers and surveyors and various other rugged workers will revitalize rural Iowa by occupying hotel rooms and washing down months’ worth of pork tenderloin sandwiches with rivers of Busch Light at every Forgottenville, Iowa tavern on the NW-SE axis. We’ll probably hear soon that Casey’s convenience store is reserving container ship space for all the extra breakfast pizza ingredients they will need to ship in to feed this starving mob of high paid workers. This will all somehow make up for the wreckage wrought on rural Iowa by the Ag Titans over the past 50 years through consolidation and creation of the three-headed corn-soy-cafo Frankenstein monster. We’re told this is the most sustainable model for Iowa, and indeed for a present-day farmer in present-day Iowa, it may be, at least at the farm scale. But this phony sustainability rests squarely upon the backs of the taxpayer and the public’s tolerance of its externalities, namely, polluted water and air [Chris Jones, “C Is for Carbonalism, blog, 2021.12.14].
Do we have any South Dakota university scientists who write with that verve?