What a carbon pipeline rupture in Mississippi tells us about safety in Siouxland

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 6:21 PM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Opponents to proposed carbon pipelines are honing in on a federal government report, which found problems with a similar pipeline that leaked in Mississippi.

But how does a pipeline leak in Mississippi affect us here? Because the proposed pipelines here in Siouxland would transport the same substance: liquefied CO2.

A photo found from a Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration report (pictured below) shows the effect of the carbon dioxide released from the pipe in Satartia, Mississippi back in 2020. White ice is visible as if it had just snowed.

The ruptured pipeline is shown in a federal government report.
The ruptured pipeline is shown in a federal government report.(Mississippi Emergency Management Agency)

According to that report, 200 nearby residents were evacuated. The Climate Investigations Center, a non-profit opposed to the carbon pipeline projects, says 49 people were sent to the hospital because of the rupture.

“That was the first time in history that we know of recording the World Health Organization that people have been sickened by CO2 from the pipeline. And so we really need to look at this as instructive here,” said Dan Zegart, an author with the Climate Investigations Center.

It’s important to note that government regulators say the rupture in Mississippi was caused by “natural force damage” and not a man-made disaster. But opponents say it could happen again, even with enhanced security measures.

“And the lessons that can be learned from that have not been learned because the companies are resisting even admitting that carbon dioxide was the gas that caused those injuries,” said Dan Zegart.

Both carbon pipelines will need approval from the Iowa Utilities Board before construction is started. One of the pipelines expects that approval to come in the first quarter of next year.

Both companies say their pipelines will learn from the mistakes of the one that ruptured in Mississippi. And we’re going to interview both companies regarding safety tomorrow, Sept. 20, so our viewers can hear from the companies directly.