Letter to the Editor

Concerns over Summit carbon pipeline

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Many Iowans are unaware of a plan by Summit Carbon Solutions to run a buried CO2 pipeline through 31 counties. The fact that the proposed route passes near populated areas raises concerns about public safety. The company claims, “Safety is and always will be our top priority,” but downplays the dangers of liquid CO2.

This CO2 is not a harmless gas. In order to flow through a pipeline, it must be compressed under supercritical pressure into a liquid form. Liquid CO2 is an asphyxiant and caustic agent, rated toxic and hazardous by OSHA. When mixed with water, it forms carbonic acid — dangerously poisonous and corrosive.

The CO2PipeHaz Project, completed by chemical engineers in Europe, concluded, “In the event of…a rupture…a significant proportion of the inventory would be discharged in the first few minutes. At a concentration of 10 percent, an exposed individual would lapse into unconsciousness in 1 minute.”

Summit’s stated allowance of 500-foot (0.03 mile) from dwellings is ridiculously inadequate. Risk assessment trials by the Saxion University of Applied Science in the Netherlands concluded, “The risk assessments for the existing CO2 pipelines show distances to a harmful threshold from 1 km to 7.2 km [0.6 miles to 4.2 miles].” Summit’s safety distance of 0.03 mile is half the lowest acceptable space. Summit Carbon Solutions must provide justification for the 500-foot safety distance.

Carbon capture is “a disposal method whose safety and reliability remain unproven.” (MIT – 7/29/19). The CO2 pipeline will be threat to public safety. Iowans must look elsewhere to solve our carbon emissions problem. Summit does not have the solution.

Bonnie Ewoldt