CPT joins movement against carbon pipelines

Indigenous and farming communities in Iowa come together to resist as corporate groups rush to jam through Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) pipelines.
No CO2 piplines protest outside government building
Solidarity groups protest against carbon capture and storage pipelines outside the Iowa State Capitol.

CPT Turtle Island Solidarity Network has joined a diverse group in the Great Plains region (midwest USA) to organize and combat the greenwashing of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) pipelines. We demand climate change solutions that respect the land, water, human rights, and the planet.

In a mad rush, corporate groups have proposed an expansive web of CCS pipelines for the midwest. This scheme, disguised as combating climate change, will redirect tax dollars from known green solutions and instead give a crutch to the dying fossil fuel industry. 

CCS is a technical process that The Science and Environmental Health Network (SHEN) describes on their website as “ an experimental technology to capture carbon dioxide gas (CO2) from the smokestacks of power plants, pressurize it until it turns into a liquid, send it somewhere through a long high-pressure pipeline, then pump it about a mile below ground, hoping it will stay there forever.”

Another principal use of captured carbon is to inject it into depleted oil fields to extract more oil in a process called Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). Pipeline companies with their eyes on the Great Plains have stated that they will not restrict carbon carried on their lines from being used to extract more fossil fuels. 

Indigenous communities are resisting the project and have spoken out about the dangers to the land and water. Hundreds of farmers and landowners are also organizing to stop the use of eminent domain, a process where the company asks for permission to use private property against the owner’s wishes. Environmental, human rights and community organizations and lawmakers are all joining together. This is a call from a group whose diversity is unlike any in recent history, united in saying: “NO CARBON PIPELINES!”

Graphic image of the state of Iowa with a black spider weaving a web of pipelines. Text reads: NO CO2 PIPELINES! STOP THE WEB!

The Great Plains Action Society hosted an informational webinar in December 2021, titled “Prairie Not Pipelines – Carbon Capture and Sequestration in the Great Plains and Indian Country.” Donielle Wanatee, Meskwaki Nation member and grassroots leader in the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline, stated: “I don’t think we have to wait anymore. We can actually stop them if we want to,” reflecting on the lessons learned from the fight to stop the Dakota Access pipeline. “Indigenous people, we are aware of this forked-tongue speaking that the white man gives to people when they want to gain profit or money off of this kind of thing—off of taking resources or assets that are meant for humankind or human beings.” 

The resistance group also includes hundreds of rural farmers and landowners.  Mark Gannon said to the Des Moines Register on 2 February 2022, “I am a farm manager in Iowa and lines would go through eight tracts of land I manage. Most of these farms are long-term ownership, some with over 100 years in the same family. All oppose these projects, but we feel the deck is stacked against us before we get started.”

Farmers and landowners have been working together with various organizations, lawyers, and Iowa lawmakers to introduce a bill that will limit the use of eminent domain for private profit. If this bill is passed, it will effectively prevent the CO2 pipeline projects from being built in Iowa without landowner consent and stop these dangerous greenwashing projects from going any further. This is currently the first line of defence in the midwest. 

“So far, the conversation has generally revolved around white landowners in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and how they are being affected via eminent domain,” reflected Sikowis Nobiss, founder of The Great Plains Action Society. “Their input is very important on this because obviously, they are the owners now of this land, so that’s the first offence or defence to stop these pipelines from coming in. However, we can not forget that all of this land is stolen.” 

Watch the full webinar on Youtube at Great Plains Action Society.

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