Two controversial new projects propose laying thousands of miles of pipe through America’s Corn Belt, carrying liquid carbon dioxide across five states, from Iowa to the Dakotas, where they’d wind through prairies, piercing waterways and twisting around farm land.
For residents of the rural Midwest, this sight would be nothing new; the region is already home to a network of crude and refined oil and gas pipelines. But these tubes wouldn’t be carrying oil and gas recently drilled from the ground; they would move it in the opposite direction. The miles of steel cylinder would transport carbon dioxide that’s been sucked from industrial facilities into storage, where it would be reused for oil drilling or pumped back into the earth.
This is carbon capture and sequestration (CCS)—the process of removing carbon dioxide from industrial sources before it has the chance to enter the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. And it’s the latest project proposed by the oil and gas industry to garner controversy for its dubious efficacy and unknown risks.