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People frustrated with past pipeline projects express concerns over potential new 1,300-mile ‘Heartland Greenway’ pipeline

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 8:21 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Around 150 people expressed their concerns and frustrations at a Monday meeting in Manchester over a 1,300-mile pipeline project called “Heartland Greenway”.

The project, which Navigator Energy’s subsidiary Navigator CO₂ Ventures is trying to build, is the second large carbon-capturing pipeline currently being proposed in Iowa. This specific pipeline captures carbon dioxide from the air, turns it into liquid, and then stores it in the ground.

Ethanol plants, potentially, could benefit from the pipeline because they could lower their carbon footprint. This would allow those plants to sell ethanol in states who require smaller carbon footprints, like California. Companies, like Navigator CO₂ Ventures, get paid off transporting the carbon dioxide.

Due to the size of the project, the Iowa Utilities Board requires the company to host 37 different public hearings to answer people’s questions about the project. Monday’s meeting in Manchester was one of those meetings. Developers and a representative from the Iowa Utilities Board heard complaints about pipelines, concerns over if the technology actually works and the effects the pipeline would have on farmers.

Brice Lubben, who is a farmer in Delaware County, said past pipeline projects make him concerned about their effects on farmland. He said he’s seen a pipeline destroy farmland multiple times at different farms

”After seeing the history that’s happened before,” Lubben said. “It’s hard to get a new perspective when it’s happened twice before.”

Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, who is the president of government affairs and public affairs for Navigator CO₂ Ventures, said the state will ensure the company restores the land it works on.

“The State has updated their ag[ricultural] restoration plans to ensure that the ground is truly being restored and that process is going to continue to evolve,” she said.

The company brands the pipeline as a solution to climate change. But, a leading climate advocacy group, the Sierra Club is organizing against the project. It says the project doesn’t go after the root causes of climate change.

Burns-Thompson said the pipeline isn’t a solution to climate change in general but does lower carbon dioxide levels in the air.

“This particular project isn’t a solution for everything,” she said. “It does help us continue to make progress to those environmental goals that we’ve set as an industry.”

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