Carbon capture investments will boost rural economic growth
As the global health pandemic continues to dissipate, policymakers here in the Midwest and across the country face the twin challenges of rebuilding our economy and dealing with the threat posed by greenhouse gas emissions.
While there are no quick fixes to these problems, one of the most significant steps we can take today is to commit to investing in carbon capture and storage projects. This technology, which has been proven for decades, captures carbon dioxide produced by power generation or other industrial processes and prevents its release into the atmosphere. These types of projects can generate thousands of well-paying jobs and help the United States and the wider world community meet ambitious environmental goals that become more urgent with each passing year.
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After my tenure as Ambassador to the United States, I was proud to serve as Senior Policy Advisor to the brand new Summit Carbon Solutions as it prepares to launch its Midwest Carbon Express project. This $ 4.5 billion investment is expected to be the largest carbon capture and storage project in the world. By connecting more than 30 ethanol facilities in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska, this critical infrastructure investment will be able to safely capture and permanently store 12 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. This is equivalent to removing 2.6 million cars from our roads each year and is one of the most important steps we can take to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. As we experience increasing weather conditions More severe here in the Midwest, there droughts and even derecho windstorms, achieving this goal is critical to protecting our communities and our quality of life for years to come.
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There are also other broader environmental benefits. Midwest Carbon Express’s investment will put ethanol on track to become a net zero or even carbon negative fuel by the end of this decade. Demand for this type of clean fuel source continues to grow in the United States, and our Midwest-based partner factories are well positioned to deliver to these emerging markets, assuming we make the necessary investments now. The ethanol industry has been an important component of our regional economy for years, supporting 360,000 jobs, increasing household income by $ 25 billion and purchasing 40% of the corn crops grown in the United States. Given the challenges the industry has faced in recent years, including the recent United States Supreme Court ruling against renewable energy, the opportunity to access these new customers comes at a potentially critical time. .
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From an economic point of view, this particular investment will generate between 14,000 and 17,000 jobs during the construction phase and between 350 and 460 permanent jobs once the project is operational. It will also involve partnerships with a diverse group of Midwest-based vendors and local businesses in the five project states. These measures will help improve the economic landscape of Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska, especially in small rural communities.
As someone who has been involved in the political process for several years, I know that the current environment often discourages cooperation. I hope Midwest Carbon Express, and other similar efforts, will be the exception to this rule. Carbon capture and storage truly has the potential to bring together individuals and organizations from all political walks of life, including economic development leaders and conservationists as well as residents of urban and rural communities. Midwest Carbon Express represents a tremendous opportunity to grow our economy, create our job base, improve our infrastructure and meet the major challenge of reducing carbon emissions.
Terry Branstad served as Ambassador to China from 2017 to 2020 after becoming the longest-serving governor of the United States, ruling Iowa from 1983 to 1999 and from 2011 to 2017.