Horowitz: Landowners fight back against latest green energy scam: ‘Carbon capture’ pipelines
The goal of the green anarchists is quite transparent. They want to make oil and gas too regulated, expensive, and scarce to remain viable while subsidizing and mandating fake green energy to perpetuate the lie of global warming so they can eventually transition us to centrally controlled unreliable energy. Then we can fulfill the dream of “eat bugs, own nothing, and be happy” by 2030. Republicans who have bought into this “carbon capture” scam think it’s a way of saving oil and gas by acceding to the premise that CO2 is a problem, but in fact it will play into the hands of green energy fanatics. Thankfully landowners in the upper Midwest and Great Plains, who are on the hook for eminent domain, are beginning to fight back.
Imagine building pipelines and infrastructure not for oil and gas to efficiently flow to consumers, but for a green energy scam to supposedly capture carbon in the air and then route it underground and somehow store it in large quantities forever. It is the most impractical and expensive way of utilizing our natural resources, will enrich cronies, will make oil and gas prohibitively expensive, and will barely make a dent in atmospheric levels of carbon. Oh, and the entire impetus for doing it is the climate lie. Unfortunately, pretty much every GOP governor has bought into it, and now it’s coming to a head with farmers and landowners who are upset that their land might be sequestered for such an inane crony project.
Summit Carbon Solutions, a very well-connected Iowa-based company, is planning a carbon sequestration pipeline over 2,000 miles long called Midwest Carbon Express. It would be routed through Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota, and North Dakota, supposedly transporting CO2 emissions from Midwestern ethanol plants to North Dakota just northwest of Bismarck, where they will be stored underground in very expensive infrastructure.
Carbon capture is sort of like stopping a virus with a mask, where the masks cost billions of dollars. This program, which just got $3.7 billion in subsidies from the Department of Energy, would cost an enormous sum just to make a dent in the carbon output, which in itself, even according to the EPA’s own climate models, would not make a measurable difference in global temperatures. And all this cost to lay pipelines and underground storage is for a waste product that is absolutely worthless and, unlike oil and gas infrastructure, cannot pay for itself. American Enterprise Institute senior fellow Benjamin Zycher explains the problematic math as follows:
The IEA total cost estimates for GHG capture using CCS technologies are around $50-120 per ton. Global GHG emissions are about 53 billion tons per year. Capture of merely 10 percent — less than the approximate advertised but not credible 15 percent Paris goal, and far less than the IEA SDC — at, say, the low-end figure of $50 per ton would cost about $265 billion per year. Is this supposed to be serious?
Furthermore, you have the cost and logistics of storage to contend with. As Robert Bryce observes, “We would need to find an underground location (or locations) able to swallow a volume equal to the contents of 41 oil supertankers each day, 365 days a year.” Are we really going to drill and build all over our country for a voodoo green crony scam? Has anyone even thought of the safety issues of permanently seeding our underground with this stuff?
And remember, this is all built on a lie that carbon is a pollutant responsible for irrevocable climate change. Consider the last time we made a massive human and fiscal investment in false scientific premises with COVID. Are we really going to latch onto building pipelines to service a religion, as we did with Pfizer?
For RINOs, carbon capture is the perfect issue because they get to triangulate on oil and gas while blessing the global warming gods and enriching their lobbyists and staffers who work for those energy companies, including ExxonMobile, which supports this. Who will pay for it? Half of it will be federal and state governments, and the other half, as always, will be passed down to consumers.
How ironic that this Summit Carbon Solutions project is to reduce emissions of another government-mandated and subsidized boondoggle: ethanol, which in itself was falsely sold to us in 2005 as a way of saving the environment, but in fact does the opposite!
Stopping this boondoggle, as we witnessed with wind, solar, and electric cars, is no easy task. Summit was a big donor to Kristi Noem’s inauguration, and its main lobbyist in South Dakota is SDGOP chair Dan Lederman. The company’s CEO is big Iowa Republican donor Bruce Rastetter, who has donated $188,902 to Gov. Kim Reynolds. Reynolds, along with all the upper Midwest governors, supported a task force to explore carbon capture several years ago. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, the ultimate corporatist and venture socialist, touted this as a big part of his State of the State address as a way of “achieving carbon neutrality as a state by 2030,” aka Agenda 2030.
Now GOP county boards and landowners in Iowa and the Dakotas are beginning to fight back in a dynamic reminiscent of the plot of TV drama series “Yellowstone,” except this infrastructure is even more harmful than regular land development in that it facilitates the death of natural fuels. They are concerned that the various state public service commissions or utilities boards will grant the companies eminent domain to confiscate land (with compensation) to construct their pipelines along the proposed routes.
There is a torrent of legislation being proposed in the affected states, but the bills lack support from the governors. Iowa Senator Jeff Taylor has introduced SF 100, which would require those pipeline companies seeking eminent domain to disclose all of their donor/investor information. SF 101 repeals the right to eminent domain for these pipelines altogether. SF 102 repeals the authority of these companies to enter the private lands to engage in surveying. Unfortunately, there is no sign that leadership is moving them forward, and Governor Kim Reynolds is awfully silent.
In South Dakota, where landowners are facing eminent domain from Navigator CO2’s Heartland Greenway project in addition to Carbon Solutions, landowners face an even worse predicament. These companies don’t even need the public service commission to sign off on eminent domain. They are designated in statute as common carriers and as such have the ability to force eminent domain in the courts without having to prove it’s for the public good. House Bill 1133, which takes away that favored status, passed 8-5 out of the State Affairs Committee, but again faces hurdles with the hornets’ nest of corporatist Republicans.
In North Dakota, Senator Jeff Magrum has several bills addressing this problem, including Senate Bill 2209, which requires 85% of landowners to approve the route, and SB 2212, which would remove CO2 pipelines from state law that allows pipelines to use eminent domain.
Obviously, landowners get to negotiate with the companies and would be compensated, but who has the upper hand in negotiations when companies automatically have the legal authority to take your land anyway? They can use all sorts of scare tactics, such as lying to individuals about the percentage of owners who already agreed to the project.
During a committee hearing in South Dakota, one landowner, Lindy Schultz, divulged in emotional testimony how the company lied and claimed 70% of those in the Watertown area of the route already approved land easements, but when she checked with neighbors, she found it was not true. She claims one company rep told her, “Work with us now, and we might adjust the route on your property. Or when we get eminent domain, we’ll put the pipeline wherever we want on your land. We’re done changing the route.”
\u201cImagine using eminent domain for pipelines, but not to power the state with oil & gas. They want to allow private companies to use carbon capture on people's land - all built on a scam and funded by the Feds. Here is riveting testimony in South Dakota by a landowner.\u201d— Daniel Horowitz (@Daniel Horowitz) 1676061277
That is negotiating power they have – reminiscent of the corrupt Penny Auctions during the Great Depression – only because of this government carve-out, which violates fundamental property rights.With people suffering from scarcity and high prices, the worst thing we can do is inefficiently allocate resources and offer tendentious treatment for inherently inefficient and unreliable energy schemes. It’s time to end all mandates, restrictions, and subsidies related to the global warming scam in every red state, and we will see which industries and products are able to survive in a true level playing field with the consumer as king. Private property rights might be the only thing that can save us from this scam.