Study Shows Corn Prices Will Drop if Pipeline Projects are Halted

by Brian Wilson
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A study commissioned by the renewable fuels industry suggests corn prices in Iowa would drop significantly if carbon capture pipelines are not built in Iowa. Monte Shaw is executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

New federal tax credits are available for proposed pipelines that would capture carbon from Midwest ethanol plants and ship the carbon to underground storage in North Dakota and Illinois.

A bill in the Iowa House would establish new steps pipeline developers would have to clear. Most notable is a requirement that property owners along 90 percent of a pipeline’s route voluntarily let developers have access to their land. The study found the price for corn could plummet by as much as 80 cents per bushel if carbon capture pipelines are connected to ethanol plants elsewhere, but not in Iowa. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association is asking its members to lobby House members to vote against the bill. Tim Recker, a corn farmer from Arlington, says carbon pipelines are the next step for the ethanol industry.

Recker and Shaw spoke during an online news conference. Shaw cited part of the study which found just six percent of Iowa field corn currently leaves the state without having value added either by being used to make ethanol, fed to livestock or converted to industrial use.

Key Republican lawmakers who have proposed new regulations for the pipelines say they’re defending the rights of landowners who don’t want their land seized through the government’s eminent domain process. Other pipeline opponents question the safety of the pipelines and whether capturing carbon from ethanol plants is among the best ways to reduce greenhouse gases.

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