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An environmental group in Iowa is resisting the carbon pipeline



Des Moines, Iowa – Developer Conclave In Iowa, Carbon Solutions intends to construct a carbon capture pipeline project.

The Sierra Club branch in Iowa is warning of the potential damage to the state’s water supply.

“We know that to cool their capture systems, they will need water at all of Summit’s 31 ethanol plants,” conservation program coordinator Jessica Mazour said.

The deep bedrock aquifers in the state, which can take decades or even centuries to replenish, are the Sierra Club’s main worry. They said that to utilize Summit’s carbon capture sites throughout the state, more than 3 billion extra gallons of water would need to be taken out every year, depleting the aquifers.

“Summit’s water usage, along with the ethanol plant water usage, is coming from those deep bedrock aquifers,” Mazour said. “We cannot deplete those because we need to ensure that we have public water supply for generations to come.”

A permit for a facility in Lawler has already been given to Summit by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), while another request for water extraction linked to the carbon pipeline is still pending.

“We think that the state should be denying the Summit carbon pipeline and any water requests, and we need to do a comprehensive study of our aquifers to ensure that they’re not endangered.”

According to the Iowa Geological Survey, the state pays it $250,000 a year to research the aquifers in the state. Not just the superficial ones, either.

“We will also be looking at our bedrock aquifers,” said director Dr. Keith Schilling. “But we don’t have the money to put in a lot of monitoring wells or do a lot of new research on those aquifers.”

According to the Sierra Club, that is insufficient.

“We believe that it would require a lot more money to do a study of the deep bedrock aquifers,” Mazour said.

According to Schilling, the investigation will start in July, but they won’t be starting from scratch.

“We’ve been doing work like this throughout the state and for decades, so our foundation is not zero,” he said. “We’re taking the opportunity to go in with more detail and look at areas that are under stress right now, and then we slowly work out towards future areas.”

Could Iowa’s aquifers be depleted by Summit’s carbon capture operations based on what he has witnessed?

“There are areas that can handle that sort of volume, and there’s other areas that are going to be a challenge to handle that sort of volume,” Schilling said. “So it really depends on where you are in the state whether that groundwater pumping is going to be an issue or not.”

The report from the Sierra Club was not examined, according to the Iowa DNR.