Minnesota Group Appeals Summit Carbon Pipeline Environmental Review
A Minnesota group is asking the state’s Public Utilities Commission to reconsider a carbon capture pipeline proposal to consider the environmental impact of the entire project, not just a small portion.
The PUC is only considering the portion of the proposed Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline in Otter Tail and Wilkin counties where Summit has submitted a permitting application.
The PUC on Feb. 6 denied a request from Montevideo-based organization CURE (Clean Up the River Environment) to survey the entire Summit Carbon Solutions project, with the majority of the pipeline miles located in west-central and southern Minnesota located.
While Summit’s website details plans for both legs of the pipeline in Minnesota, the PUC said the southern portion remains “hypothetical” with no application.
On Monday, February 27, CURE applied to the PUC for a re-examination.
“By artificially separating the northern and southern portions of the pipeline, the commission ignored the will of more than 100 Minnesota residents and failed to consider the cumulative impact of the entire Midwest Carbon Express project on the state to decide how and in which company.” extent it goes through the environmental assessment process, which is in direct contradiction to the intention
(Minnesota Environmental Policy Act),” the filing reads.
Summit’s pipeline would capture greenhouse gases from 32 ethanol plants and pipe them to western North Dakota for underground storage. The company says the environment, the ethanol industry, and corn farmers will benefit.
However, some landowners have been reluctant to sign an easement agreement with Summit, citing concerns about damage to crop production and loss of property values due to a hazardous liquid line running through their property.
The five-state, 2,000-mile project has an estimated cost of $4.5 billion.
As of February 6, Summit Carbon Solutions announced it had signed a total of 4,000 agreements with landowners or a total of 1,250 miles of secured right-of-way. The Iowa-based company says this accounts for about 60% of the route across the five states — Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.
Nearly 240 miles of pipeline are planned in Minnesota, crossing Otter Tail, Wilkin, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Martin, Redwood, Renville, and Yellow Medicine counties.
One of the 32 ethanol plants that could benefit from the pipeline is the Green Plains plant at Fergus Falls, the only plant on the section of the pipeline for which Summit has applied for a permit.
In November 2021, CURE filed a petition signed by 186 Minnesotans asking the state to complete an Environmental Impact Assessment Worksheet for the entire project.
“Hundreds of Minnesotans, including those living in southern counties affected by this project, have asked the PUC to review because they are in the dark about the impact it will have, who will bear the real burden, and who will benefit,” said Maggie Schuppert, CURE Campaigns Director, in a press release. “Meanwhile, the company is traveling in this part of the state to sign easements and request access to water and other resources it needs to build and operate. These pipelines are real to the people who live here.”
In other carbon pipeline news, on February 23, Wolf Carbon Solutions applied to the Iowa Utilities Board for a permit to build a 95-mile carbon capture pipeline in eastern Iowa.
Wolf is working with ADM on a project to connect two ADM ethanol plants to an underground storage facility in Illinois.
The proposed Mt. Simon Hub project in Cedar, Clinton, Linn, and Scott counties would capture carbon dioxide at ADM ethanol plants in Cedar Rapids and Clinton, Iowa, and transport it 280 miles to ADM’s sequestration site in Decatur, Illinois.