Ethanol’s Next Regulatory Hurdle Pits Industry Against Property Owners

The latest battlefront for the ethanol industry involves its producers facing off against landowners across the Upper Midwest.  The battle is over pipelines carrying carbon dioxide to underground deposits for storage, after the byproduct of the ethanol production process is captured.  Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, says it’s becoming a key part of marketing ethanol as a green fuel.

Cooper adds that reducing ethanol’s carbon footprint can result in a greater return for corn producers.

However, CO2 pipeline projects have experienced significant resistance from landowners and regulators.  In the past week the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission rejected permit requests for two pipelines, including Navigator’s Heartland Greenway that would stretch through Iowa to a pair of sequestration sites in Central Illinois.  Cooper acknowledges the balancing act that ethanol producers have ahead of them.

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper spoke to Regional Radio during Farm Progress Show last month in Decatur, Illinois, where pipeline opponents had chartered a plane to fly a banner around the site to protest the proposed line.