The pipes are calling

Source: BY MATTHEW CHOI, Politico • Posted: Monday, September 20, 2021

Even as Democrats edge forward on the most aggressive climate legislation in U.S. history, they’re getting some grief from advocates who are usually solidly in their corner: anti-pipeline advocates. At issue is $2 billion in the bipartisan infrastructure bill to help develop new pipeline networks to carry carbon dioxide from industrial emitters to underground storage sites.

A massive buildout of carbon capture, utilization and sequestration infrastructure is a priority for a wide array of interest groups, from the fossil fuel industry, who view it as an immediate way to mitigate their carbon footprint, to climate hawks in Congress and the administration who call for using every tool available to curb emissions.

Jane Kleebchair of the Nebraska Democratic Party who spearheaded efforts against the now-canceled Keystone XL pipeline, said Nebraska farmers have received calls from pipeline companies interested in look at their land for siting of a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline system. “There is such little education on this out there, even among climate champions, that people feel like they’re getting sold, just like they got sold with fracking early on,” Kleeb said. “That money for pipelines shouldn’t be in there, I’m sorry. If these measures are necessary, let oil companies handle them, not taxpayers.”

CCUS defenders, including pipeline company Navigator, say the idea isn’t to prolong the use of fossil fuels, but to keep the gases driving climate change from reaching the atmosphere. “From an environmental perspective, if you want to decarbonize, what’s the quickest way to do so? This checks the box,” Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, Navigator’s vice president for government relations