Concerned citizens, city and county leaders, farmers, and area business owners gathered in Duncan over the weekend to discuss the implications and dangers of a proposed carbon pipeline running through Hancock and Wright Counties. Area Democrat and Republican party members organized the meeting in tandem because of the concerns they were hearing from residents and businesses alike.
The proposed pipeline will run south of Kanawha and will be filled with highly pressurized flowing liquid CO2 from ethanol production plants. This CO2 will then be pumped to a site in the Dakotas where it will be buried underground, allegedly permanently.
Brenda Barr is a retired epidemiologist. She voiced concern that if the pipeline were to break or leak, anyone within 20 miles would be affected. She cited the pipeline break in Satartia, Mississippi where hundreds of people were affected.
Barr has seen cases of CO2 accidents where patients have been treated with skin and inhalation injuries. She stated that the skin in these cases was not viable, and grafting was necessary. She also made a point concerning the potential scope of pipeline projects in the U. S.
Farmers and landowners are very concerned about the construction and maintenance aspect of the pipeline. Topsoil would be disturbed and need to be refortified which will take years to return it back to maximum yield potential. Then there is drainage which is essential to prevent the fields from flooding and balances moisture in the ground. Hancock County Supervisor Florence “Sis” Greiman spoke about the scale of drainage districts in the county.
Greiman’s concern was echoed by all farmers and county officials in the room. There would be a significant cost to county taxpayers involving inspections and repairs to broken or unusable drainage systems. Greiman also cited another concern.
This would also include under road drainage ditches and the tiling associated with it too. County officials who act as trustees in drainage districts along with members of the districts are concerned about the hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs and replacement of tile in the affected districts along with the potential loss of revenue from unproductive fields. This comes at a time when fertilizers, fuels, and applicators are at very high prices. Meanwhile, city and county officials along with emergency service personnel are expressing serious safety and rescue concerns in the event of an emergency.
The meeting was a chance for everyone to explore these issues further and allow city, county, and state officials to know how these concerned individuals feel.