Tim Burrack: Iowa Process on Pipelines is Fair and Transparent

Iowa Process on Pipelines is Fair and Transparent

Much exaggeration, scare tactics, and even lies have been launched over the past two years regarding carbon capture pipelines.

Take for instance a July 30 essay in the Register begging the governor to “slow down the process” for pipelines. The reality is the process in Iowa is something to be proud of. It takes the politics out of utility decisions, it is lengthy (I’ve planted and harvested two crops since this process has started), it is transparent and open for the public to participate in. It’s not decided by the heavy hand of government, or even a single bureaucrat.

Predictably, this opinion piece goes on to lay out scary, what-ifs, not to bring about reasonable discussion but strictly to unleash fears of community members. The truth of the matter is the U.S. Department of Transportation heavily regulates pipelines in this country and they are held to a very high standard when it comes to being safely designed, constructed, maintained, and operated. While this technology may be new to Iowa, it isn’t new across the country.

Those who are concerned about climate change know that it can’t only be done with electric vehicles and eliminating gas stoves, ethanol must be part of the conversation. And those who believe in economic independence know how important it is that we sell more of our clean U.S. energy to our allies and deter them from buying dirty energy from our adversaries.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is great for Iowa and for farmers. Without the renewable fuels, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association estimates farm income could drop by more than $1 billion annually, ethanol production could shrink by 75%, closing many ethanol plants, and the industry would lose more than $10 billion annually.

Ethanol producers are eager to utilize CCS to help lower the carbon index score of the fuel they produce. This would not only help the environment but also open new markets for corn producers. Ethanol-based Sustainable Aviation Fuels will be critical to the aviation industry meeting its emission-reduction goals. The industry demands over 100 billion gallons of jet fuel annually, and using every available ethanol gallon could be the solution.

Like it or not, the ethanol industry and its success affects you and every small town in the Midwest. Last year in Iowa alone, the renewable fuels industry accounted for nearly $7.2 billion of the state’s GDP.

Thank you, governor, and lawmakers, for letting Iowa’s utility process play out exactly how it was intended. Every advancement in farming – from the plow, to the tractor, to auto steer – has faced initial skepticism and naysayers. As an Iowa farmer, I know that carbon capture and storage is the future of farming.

— Tim Burrack, Arlington


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