Summit Carbon Solutions Submits Response to Minnesota Pipeline Questions – Perham Focus

Summit Carbon Solutions has some answers to questions about its permit application for a carbon capture pipeline in two Minnesota counties.

As part of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s agenda, the Nov. 14 summit added information on contingency plans and argued that an environmental assessment worksheet was not necessary.

Environmental group CURE – Clean Up the River Environment of Minnesota – has petitioned the PUC to request an environmental assessment worksheet that could lead to a more detailed environmental impact statement.

Summit also said the Otter Tail and Wilkin counties portion of the pipeline should be considered separately from the rest of the project planned in Minnesota, noting that the southern portion, which will connect to the main line in Iowa, will cost more than 100 Miles away is the northern portion, which connects to the mainline in North Dakota.

Summit MN route.png
The Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline would connect six ethanol plants in Minnesota to a carbon storage facility in North Dakota.

Summit Carbon Solutions

“Summit Carbon did not divide the larger network into smaller segments to avoid environmental audits,” the response reads.

It is not known when it will apply for a permit for southern Minnesota counties: Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Martin, Redwood, Renville and Yellow Medicine.

“The timing of the submission of a route permit application and construction of the remaining portions of the Midwest Carbon Express project will depend on land acquisition and other project development tasks,” the letter said.

Some of the answers are the questions from the Minnesota Department’s Energy Environmental Review and Analysis, but also from CURE and other commentators on the controversial pipeline project.

The PUC has indicated that it is likely to hold a public meeting in late 2022 or very early in 2023 to decide whether to accept the summit application as complete and what to do with EAW applications.

Summit describes the Midwest Carbon Express as a $4.5 billion project that will benefit 32 ethanol plants in five states. The project will capture greenhouse gas emissions from these facilities and route liquid carbon dioxide to West North Dakota for underground storage. The ethanol mills will benefit by being able to sell their corn-based fuel at a premium in some markets, while Summit gets a share of those profits and uses carbon storage tax credits.

Summit also announced that it has entered into easement agreements for more than 50% of the proposed pipeline route in South Dakota.

Lee Blank, CEO of Summit Carbon Solutions

Courtesy / Summit Carbon Solutions

“The completion of easement agreements for much of the proposed pipeline route in South Dakota represents a significant step in advancing our project and driving long-term growth of our agricultural economy,” said Lee Blank, CEO of Summit Carbon Solutions, in a press release.

A map of Summit Carbon Solutions' proposed pipeline route through South Dakota.
Summit Carbon Solutions proposed a pipeline route through South Dakota.

Summit Carbon Solutions

Summit has said it seeks all voluntary easements but could win the right to use significant territory on part of the route, forcing landowners to yield the right-of-way.

The pipeline met with opposition from many landowners over concerns about damage to farmland, safety and property values.

A public comment by Nicole Zempel of Granite Falls, Minnesota says in part, “I see it as nothing more than a government subsidy being usurped by wealthy investors and the industrial farming machine.”