Analysis Finds Midwest Carbon Pipelines Could Cost Taxpayers in Excess of $20 Billion

Local communities and landowners are left with bills when things go wrong

Published Apr 4, 2022


Food System

Local communities and landowners are left with bills when things go wrong

Local communities and landowners are left with bills when things go wrong

Today, the national advocacy group Food & Water Watch released a new analysis on the true cost of the three carbon pipelines proposed for the Midwest, finding that federal taxpayers could waste in excess of $20 billion dollars on these projects over the next 12 years. Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposal alone could cost taxpayers more than $7 billion — almost twice the amount the company claims its project will invest in the region.

Carbon capture schemes and the dangerous pipelines that feed them are propped up by public funding. A single federal tax credit called Section 45Q could funnel almost $2 billion a year to Summit, Navigator and Wolf/ADM to capture carbon from ethanol facilities to feed their pipeline projects. Over the 12 years that the projects are eligible to profit from the Section 45Q credit, the companies could make $23 billion.

Meanwhile, despite a failing track record, the federal government is only doubling down on carbon capture funding. Since 2010, the federal government has poured more than $8 billion into carbon capture projects via direct funding and tax credits, yet most federally-funded projects failed. Despite this, in the past year alone, legislators approved a record $12.2 billion in federal appropriations to finance carbon capture projects. 

While federal funding props up these projects, it leaves local communities to foot the bill should anything go wrong. Landowners whose property is affected by carbon pipeline construction can expect hefty costs from the aftereffects of pipeline damage. In the case of the Dakota Access Pipeline, some landowners reported farmland repairs upwards of $100,000 for a single property.

To date, hundreds of Iowans have submitted public comments against the costly and dangerous Summit carbon pipeline, the first proposed for the state and first in line to go through Iowa Utilities Board permitting. As of a March 8 review, 98.9 percent of comments filed are in opposition.

Food & Water Watch Senior Iowa Organizer Emma Schmit issued the following response:

“Carbon capture and its associated pipelines are designed to funnel wealth from communities to corporations. But Iowans see these schemes for what they are — greenwashing and corporate profiteering at our expense — and we are uniting to stop these projects from taking root.

“Regular people have already paid through the nose for carbon capture, only to watch the flawed technology fail time and time again. We refuse to also offer up our land, communities, health and safety so that corporations like Summit can make a quick buck. Governor Reynolds must ensure companies cannot use eminent domain to steal Iowans’ land for these projects, and she must direct her Iowa Utilities Board to put an end to carbon pipelines in Iowa for good.”

Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]

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Press Contact: Phoebe Galt [email protected]