Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) continues to be promoted as an important way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. There are many reasons why CCUS is not a viable solution, as described in detail in a new report from the Oakland Institute titled The Great Carbon Boondoggle.
I just saw an advertisement from Valero, one of the fossil fuel pipeline companies supporting CCUS. The ad asks why everyone is focused on the past. Then talks about how Valero is saving the planet by removing carbon dioxide from the air. The entire ad was about CCUS.
NAVIGATOR LAUNCHES A NON-BINDING OPEN SEASON TO SOLICIT INTEREST IN FIRM CAPACITY
SAN ANTONIO–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE: VLO, “Valero”) and BlackRock Global Energy & Power Infrastructure Fund III announced today that they are partnering with Navigator Energy Services (“Navigator”) to develop an industrial scale carbon capture pipeline system (“CCS”). The initial phase is expected to span more than 1,200 miles of new carbon dioxide gathering and transportation pipelines across five Midwest states with the capability of permanently storing up to 5 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Pending third party customer feedback, the system could be expanded to transport and sequester up to 8 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Valero, the largest renewable fuels producer in North America, is expected to become an anchor shipper by securing a majority of the initial available system capacity. Navigator is expected to lead the construction and operations of the system and anticipates operations to begin late 2024. In the coming months, Navigator will seek additional commitments to utilize the remaining capacity via a binding open season process.
Valero and BlackRock Partner with Navigator to Announce Large-Scale Carbon Capture and Storage Project
During the current legislative session, the Iowa House passed legislation that would have carbon pipeline companies restrict the use of eminent domain to force landowners to allow pipeline construction on their land. But the Iowa Senate will not vote on it. This photo was taken outside the Iowa State Capitol during a rally against carbon pipelines.
A House bill that would restrict the use of eminent domain for carbon capture pipelines — an idea favored by a strong majority of Iowans — won’t receive a Senate hearing ahead of a key legislative deadline, meaning the bill is effectively dead for the session.
The bill represented the most serious legislative effort this year to address the concerns of farmers and other landowners who fear they could be forced to sell access to their land to companies seeking to build pipelines across the state.
Rep. Steven Holt, R-Denison, the bill’s House floor manager, said the Senate’s decision not to move the bill is disappointing.
“I think the bill we passed was important protections for our landowners and I’m very disappointed that they’re choosing not to move it,” he said Wednesday.
Holt pointed to a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll this month, which found more than three-fourths of Iowans, or 78%, oppose letting carbon pipelines use eminent domain for their projects.
That includes 72% of Republicans, 79% of independents and 82% of Democrats.
Senate won’t curb eminent domain for carbon pipelines; most Iowans say they want limits by Stephen Gruber-Miller, Des Moines Register, March 29, 2023
Why Is Carbon Capture & Storage A False Climate Solution?
The promoters of the Midwest Carbon Express fail to reckon with the growing body of evidence exposing CCS as a false climate solution. CCS projects have systematically overpromised and underdelivered. Despite billions of taxpayer dollars spent on CCS to date, the technology has failed to significantly reduce CO2 emissions, as it has “not been proven feasible or economic at scale.” 
Crucially, the ability to capture and safely contain CO2 permanently underground has not been proven, a dangerous uncertainty given CO2 must be stored underground for thousands of years without leaking to effectively reduce emissions. 
It also risks permanently contaminating underground aquifers and poisoning precious drinking water for nearby communities.
Additionally, applying CCS to industrial sources such as ethanol plants requires the creation of massive infrastructure and transportation of carbon to storage sites, and injecting it underground poses new environmental, health, and safety hazards in communities targeted for CCS infrastructure. As carbon capture infrastructure needs to be built near emitting sites, facilities would further impact those already burdened by industrial pollution. 
In many cases, this disproportionately impacts lower-income,Indigenous, Black, and Brown communities—furthering a vicious cycle of environmental racism. To date, CCS has primarily been used to prop up the ineffective and environmentally unsustainable fossil fuel energy system. In the US, a dozen carbon capture plants are in operation—the majority of which are attached to ethanol, natural gas processing, or fertilizer plants—which generate emissions that are high in CO2.  Over 95 percent of the CO2 captured by these plants is currently used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR)—where instead of storing the captured CO2, it is injected into depleted underground oil reservoirs to boost oil production in wells.
There are legitimate concerns that investing billions in carbon capture infrastructure to lower emissions from fossil fuels and ethanol production will reduce incentives for investors and policymakers to transition towards more sustainable and effective solutions. These include investing in wind or solar energy sources, phasing out of industrial agricultural production, developing infrastructure and services such as public transport. 
Biden Administration strongly supports Carbon Capture and Storage
The Biden administration has hailed CCS and carbon pipelines as vital infrastructure to meet climate targets and claimed that the US needs 65,000 additional miles of pipeline by 2050.  The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed in November 2021 provides over eight billion dollars as federal grants, loans, and loan guarantees for carbon storage and pipelines. In 2022, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which substantially increased the already abundant tax credits for CCS projects and made it easier for projects to qualify for these credits. This flood of public money has resulted in over 40 CCS projects announced in 2021 alone. 
In Midwestern US, Archer-Daniel Midlands (ADM), Summit Carbon Solutions, and Navigator CO2 Ventures are currently advancing three major CCS projects.
Endnotes from The Great Carbon Boondoggle
 Douglas, L. “U.S. carbon pipeline proposals trigger backlash over potential land seizures.” Reuters, February 7, 2022.
 Department of Energy. “Fact Sheet: The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – Opportunities to Accelerate Deployment in Fossil Energy and Carbon Management Activities.” September 29, 2022.
October 10, 2022).
 Gibson Dunn. “The Inflation Reduction Act Includes Significant Benefits for the Carbon Capture Industry.” August 12, 2022.
 Paul, S. “Global carbon capture projects surge 50% in 9 months–research.” Reuters, October 11, 2021. https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/global-carbon-capture-projects-surge-50-9-months-research-2021-10-12
 Center for International Environmental Law. Confronting the Myth of Carbon-Free Fossil Fuels: Why Carbon Capture Is Not a Climate Solution. July, 2021.
 Center for International Environmental Law. Carbon Capture and Storage: An Expensive and Dangerous Plan for Louisiana. June 25, 2021.
 Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Danger Ahead: The Public Health Disaster That Awaits From Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS).” February 10, 2022.
 For example, in Louisiana, proposed CCS infrastructure would impact Black and Brown, lower-income communities living in “Cancer Alley,” the industrial region named after decades of poor air and water quality from industrial pollution increased cancer rates and other health risks. Ibid.
 Kusnetz, N. “Fossil Fuel Companies Are Quietly Scoring Big Money for Their Preferred Climate Solution: Carbon Capture and Storage.” Inside Climate News, August 17, 2021.
 Iowa Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. Fact Sheet: Low Carbon Standard, Ethanol and Carbon Capture. August 24, 2022. https://psriowa.org/event_ccs2022.html