Scientists Join The Fight Against Proposed Iowa Pipelines
It hasn’t been a secret that farmers have been rallying against a carbon pipeline, especially one that would be forced on their land via eminent domain.
While we understand that people don’t like the idea of the government controlling their private land, a recent article in Bleeding Heartland looked at what academics are saying when it comes to the pipeline’s impact on the land.
Their argument has been laid out in a letter submitted to Iowa Utilities Board, which was submitted July 29th. In the letter, 17 academics, farmland owners, and environmental advocates laid out four science-based objections to the proposed pipeline projects; Summit Carbon Solutions, Navigator CO2 Ventures, and Archer Daniels Midland partnered with Wolf Carbon Solution.
The negative effect on crop yields
When these pipeline projects are installed, they require a lot of soil disruption. This can cause crop fields to suffer from the effects that come from excavation, compaction, and backfilling of the soil. The letter pointed to an Iowa State University study saying this is something farmers are also aware of.
Corn and soybean yields were reduced 15% and 25%, respectively, in the field zone affected by oil pipeline construction.
Vehicle tailpipe emissions are greater than ethanol emissions
There are 42 ethanol plants in Iowa which generate nearly 30 percent of all the ethanol produced in the US. In Iowa, about 12.8 million metric tons of CO2 are released from ethanol production. However when looking at this compared to what we are seeing with vehicle tailpipes, the scientists argue this is a small number.
Combustion of fossil fuels in the transportation sector comprised the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. in 2020
E10 tailpipe emissions are higher than at plants
In 2020, the US Energy Information Administration says that in 2020 US motorists used 123.5 billion gallons of E10 which released around 1.06 billion metric tons of CO2.
Thus, for the U.S., tailpipe emissions from using E10 in 2020 were almost 25 times greater than the 43 million metric tons of CO2 that could potentially be captured at all the nation’s ethanol plants.
They add that shifting this from E10 to E15 would only change these numbers slightly.
Miles per gallon are lower
Ethanol has lower energy content and the mpg values for ethanol blends of gasoline are typically 4-5 percent lower than gasoline.
CO2 emissions per mile traveled are as high or higher for ethanol blends than for pure gasoline.