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Belmond Farmers React to Potential Water Usage by Summit Carbon Solutions

Opponents of proposed carbon pipelines in Iowa say the projects will be too much of a drain on Iowa’s water resources. Jan Norris of Red Oak is one of several people who read a joint statement during a public hearing this week.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has already granted Summit a permit to withdraw up to 55 million gallons of water each year from a new well near an ethanol plant in Chickasaw County. The agency is considering another application from Summit for the use of nearly 28 million gallons of water each year from a new well in Wright County, near an ethanol plant in Goldfield. Julie Glade’s farm is about 17 miles from Goldfield.

Mark Thompson

Representative Mark Thompson, a Republican, represents Wright, Humboldt and Hancock Counties in the Iowa House.

The carbon capture process generates heat. Water is used to cool the carbon so it can be compressed, liquified and shipped through a pipeline. Marjory Swan, a Wright County farmer, says Iowa’s water resources are not unlimited and shouldn’t be used for the project.

Others who testified at this week’s hearing asked state officials to consider how much water Summit would need for its entire project, not just for each of the ethanol plants that would connect to the pipeline. Kathleen Hunt of Eldora owns land in Hardin County that’s along the proposed Summit route and she says Summit’s water use would be unprecedented.

Summit has said its project is crucial to the survival of the ethanol industry as consumer demand for carbon-free fuel will grow. Three years ago, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources rejected a different company’s plan to withdraw two billion gallons of water from a northeast Iowa aquifer every year and sell it to communities in the west that are running out of water.

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