Carbon pipeline agreement reached in Nebraska

by | Apr 15, 2024 | 5 Ag Stories, News

Carbon pipelines have been a hot topic across the Midwest these past years. Companies that want to produce lower-carbon ethanol for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) need a way to get rid of the carbon that is produced. The pipelines are planned to go across the Midwest to deposit that carbon in North Dakota and Illinois, in rock formations that are conducive to the storage of the carbon.

But this is where things get into a gray area. It has become murky with debates on environmental impact. A pipeline that is supposed to help the environment properly deal with carbon production, could also be a detriment to the environment as it is constructed. That is the argument from environmental advocates who also still want better and cleaner fuels such as SAF. The problem is that unlike in countries like Brazil, which have built ethanol facilities over the geological formations that capture the carbon and then planted corn around it, The United States built the facilities where the corn is.

The environment is not only the consideration that has been a part of the debate over the construction of pipelines. Land rights and eminent domain are also a concern for the farmers whose land the proposed pipeline would cross. These pipelines have been a very contentious topic across the entire cornbelt.

Recently, Nebraska became the first state in the footprint of the carbon pipeline project to strike an agreement to help move the project forward, respect land rights, and develop community initiatives. Kyle Quackenbush Segment President of Tallgrass talks about the agreement that has been reached.

Jane Kleeb is the founder of Bold Alliance.  She says this agreement is the first of its kind to guarantee that the landowners of the proposed footprint will also benefit from the project.

According to the agreement, landowner protections are established from early project development through easement negotiations, operations, and even decommissioning. Easements are returned to the landowners upon decommissioning, and the owners can leave the pipeline abandoned or removed from their property.