The Food & Water Watch (FWW) has done it again. They have released a treasure trove of misinformation to the public, relying on their typical strategy of leveraging scare tactics over data whenever possible.

Recently, they highlighted a letter sent to President Biden calling for an executive order that would place a temporary moratorium on federal permits for new carbon pipelines. Here’s what they had to say…and here’s what we have to say in response.

Claim: “The proposal President Biden negotiated with Congressional Republicans to extend the debt ceiling could further reduce public oversight for CO2 pipelines.”

Fact: The bipartisan U.S. debt deal addressed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a landmark statute. It was signed into law during the Nixon Administration. As such, updates to it are necessary given the technological advancements we now have access to, and the incredibly different energy and environmental landscape in which we’re now operating.

But more importantly, the actual update to NEPA was to place a two-year limit on federal environmental impact studies. As it stands today, these reviews sometimes take as many as five years to complete. That length is generally not dependent on the rigors of the actual review, but rather bureaucratic red tape and inefficiency. The result is that energy infrastructure projects, including pipelines, can take the better part of a decade to stand up, undermining the safety of energy transport, the healthy of our energy markets, and our ability to drive a clean energy transition.

Claim: “We need President Biden to listen to the growing chorus of voices who are demanding a stop to dirty energy interests’ rush to build dangerous and unsafe pipelines to transport CO2.”

Fact: Carbon pipelines aren’t dangerous. And if you don’t want to take CAP’s word for it, then take the National Academies of Science’s, which stated carbon pipelines are “among the safest in the industry.” This is borne out by the data. According to federal government safety data of the over 5,000 miles of carbon pipelines currently in operation, incidents are down 56 percent over the last five years. Since 2017, carbon pipelines have experience 55 percent fewer incidents per mile than crude oil pipelines and 37 percent fewer incidents than refined products pipelines.

But let’s also put those stats in context, because the safety record of oil pipelines is such that 99.999 percent of oil transported via pipeline reaches its destination without incident.

Now, let’s come at this from another angle and say that we all agree to stand down pipelines to transport energy. Well, we can’t stop transporting energy without bringing our economy and our nation’s defenses to a screeching halt. So, what’s left? Transport via rail and highway, which has a significantly less impressive safety record.

Today, the vast majority of pressurized liquid carbon dioxide is moved almost exclusively by truck because we need to build out a mature carbon pipeline network for the benefit of public and environmental safety.

Claim: “This industry pipe dream will quickly become a nightmare for communities in the path of these profit- driven schemes that can explode and send plumes of suffocating CO2 for miles.”

Fact: Carbon dioxide isn’t flammable and doesn’t support combustion. In fact, liquid carbon dioxide is used to suppress explosions. Other safety concerns have proven well addressed with over 5,000 miles of experience.

Claim: “Pipelines to transport CO2 are the key component of the carbon capture scam that uses lies and misinformation to convince the public and policy makers that these dangerous and expensive projects are something other than a money maker for dirty energy producers.”

Fact: Carbon capture isn’t dangerous. The United States been safely capturing and sequestering carbon for decades.

It’s also technological solution embraced by the international environmental community who believe it will play an essential role in allowing nations around the world, who don’t have the ability to access or scale up renewable energy projects in the near-term, to decarbonize.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report that stated carbon pipelines are a “mature technology” that have been safely used in the U.S. since 1972. Furthermore, the report found that opposition to them has been driven by “misconceptions” about carbon dioxide and the process and infrastructure that support carbon capture.

Claim: “[P]rojects are moving forward before regulators are able to update health and safety laws, like those at PHMSA, which advocates are targeting for increasing scrutiny.”

Fact: Let’s be very clear, the idea that our federal regulators are going to be caught in in a tsunami of pipelines they can’t begin to navigate is a ridiculous one. Developing a pipeline is a painstaking process that incorporates federal, state, and regional oversight.

Here at CAP we are in favor of PHMSA updating its rules pertaining to carbon pipelines. It’s essential that there’s public trust in projects, project operators, and the regulators overseeing them. Nevertheless, it’s worth reminding everyone that today, even while an updated rule is under consideration, CO2 pipeline projects are advancing in close coordination with federal regulators – pipeline operators work within PHMSA guidelines. PHMSA is firm in the conviction that currently they have sufficient authority to be an effective regulator of carbon pipelines.

We encourage the FWW team to remove their tinfoil hats. And we encourage our readers to check out our resource library for more accurate information on carbon capture and carbon pipelines.