Pierre Capital Journal
Guest Opinion by Brigham McCown

Feb. 2, 2023

Over the past two years, Midwesterners have heard a growing debate around carbon capture, transportation, and storage projects. Are these projects safe for families, farmers, and businesses? Why are they needed now, and are they new? These are all fair questions, and as a Midwesterner myself, these are the questions I would also be asking.

While my career has spanned over three decades in the military, government, academic, and private sector, I had the privilege to lead the federal agency responsible for carbon dioxide pipelines. PHMSA, as it is known in Washington, stands for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

PHMSA is charged with ensuring the safe and secure transportation of anything hazardous by air, land, rail, sea, and via the nation’s 3.3 million miles of pipelines. They also run the “811 Call Before You Dig” program in partnership with many others to prevent damage to all underground infrastructure.

Based on my own firsthand experience running PHMSA, I can say with certainty that pipelines are the safest way to transport large amounts of gas and liquid products because of the federal government’s extensive and comprehensive regulations that are in place. Residents and communities across the Midwest and beyond should be confident carbon dioxide (CO2) pipeline projects will operate safely. This is important as we move forward in deploying technologies aimed at reducing pollution and carbon emissions.

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