Opponents of Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline speak out at public hearing

(Radio Iowa) – Opponents of proposed carbon pipelines in Iowa say the projects will be too much of a drain on Iowa’s water resources. Jan Norris of Red Oak is one of several people who read a joint statement during a public hearing this week.

“As it turns out, Summit Carbon Solutions not only wants to take our land, they want our water,” Norris said.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has already granted Summit a permit to withdraw up to 55 million gallons of water each year from a new well near an ethanol plant in Chickasaw County. The agency is considering another application from Summit for the use of nearly 28 million gallons of water each year from a new well in Wright County, near an ethanol plant in Goldfield. Julie Glade’s farm is about 17 miles from Goldfield.

“We know these waters are life. They belong to all of us in Iowa…Please deny Summit’s Goldfield withdrawal request,” Glade said.

Representative Mark Thompson, a Republican, represents Wright, Humboldt and Hancock Counties in the Iowa House.

“The water shortage is about as obvious as the nose on your face. We live near Belmond, near a lake. The lake has receeded about 150 feet from the natural shoreline,” Thompson said. “…I also would encourage this permit to be denied.”

The carbon capture process generates heat. Water is used to cool the carbon so it can be compressed, liquified and shipped through a pipeline. Marjory Swan, a Wright County farmer, says Iowa’s water resources are not unlimited and shouldn’t be used for the project.

“We are very well aware of the drought conditions Iowa and her neighbor states have been suffering through recently, 2.9 million residents of our state are currently living in areas of drought,” Swam says.

Others who testified at this week’s hearing asked state officials to consider how much water Summit would need for its entire project, not just for each of the ethanol plants that would connect to the pipeline.

Kathleen Hunt of Eldora owns land in Hardin County that’s along the proposed Summit route and she says Summit’s water use would be unprecedented.

“It is incumbent upon the DNR to go about their work carefully and with scientified precision,” she said, “because the public wealth of Iowa is at stake.”

Summit has said it’s project is crucial to the survival of the ethanol industry as consumer demand for carbon-free fuel will grow. Three years ago the Iowa Department of Natural Resources rejected a different company’s plan to withdraw two billion gallons of water from a northeast Iowa aquifer every year and sell it to communities in the west that are running out of water.