Study says not having carbon capture pipelines could negatively impact Iowa’s economy

Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 10:13 PM CDT
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JOHNSTON, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa farm income could drop by more than *a billion dollars annually* if the state prevents Carbon Capture Pipeline projects from moving forward. That’s according to a new study by Decision Innovation Solutions.

This is the second phase of the study commissioned by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. The group conducting the study, Decision Innovation Solutions, is out of Urbandale and is an economic research and analysis firm.

According to the first phase of the study, if Iowa’s ethanol plants connect to pipelines, they could generate an additional 2 billion dollars a year.

Without pipelines, three-quarters of Iowa’s ethanol production could leave the state, taking an estimated 40 percent of Iowa’s corn crop with it.

”The impact of this is that we lose a substantial amount of value-added activity in the state, but we also affect the profitability on the farm,” said David Miller with Decision Innovation Solutions.

Decision Innovation Solutions’ study found not having carbon pipelines in Iowa could drive Ethanol production to surrounding states, reducing Iowa Ethanol production by 75%.

That, they said, will have an impact on everyday farmers.

”The bottom line impact is for 1000 acre farm, it’s about $43,000 a year in lost revenue. It’s combination of lost revenue and probably some additional cost,” said Miller.

But not everyone agrees with the report.

”This study, just like the other study they did, it’s just fear-mongering. It’s PR propaganda that’s initiated and paid for by groups that are for the pipelines and stand to benefit from the pipeline project,” said Jessica Mazour, Sierra Club Conservation Program Coordinator.

Mazour said there a few reasons to question the study’s validity.

”The legal disclaimer alone in the report shows that we shouldn’t be taking it seriously. It says that there’s no representation as to the accuracy or completeness of the data, and it cannot be ascertained with certainty to the extent to which these estimates are entirely accurate,” she said.

The entity that paid for the study, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, believes the study reflects reality - and the threat of losing a huge sector of Iowa’s economy is worth being concerned about.

”If if we don’t align ourselves to be profitable under the current policy and market conditions, and we let the ethanol production migrate out to those areas that do, the study found that would go back to 44% of our corn would leave this state without having any value added,” said Monte Shaw, Iowa Renewable Fuel Association Executive Director.