County temporarily bans new pipelines in response to carbon capture proposal

McPherson County has created a moratorium on the construction of new pipelines in response to a carbon capture pipeline project that would cross its jurisdiction.

“Not many meetings have been held and many people frankly don’t even know that this pipeline is being offered through their counties, let alone some of them don’t even know it’s going through their land or their neighborhoods.” said commissioner Anthony Kunz.

The Midwest Carbon Express pipeline is offered by Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions.

Kunz said the commission heard about the project late last year when a company representative presented the project over the phone at a public meeting.

The planning and zoning board and county commission voted unanimously in January for a moratorium that will prevent any new pipelines carrying hazardous materials until the county’s zoning ordinance can be updated.

Representatives from Summit Carbon Solutions then presented the project at the commission meeting on February 1.

Kunz said residents and commissioners were concerned about safety, property rights and a lack of information about the project.

He said some landowners don’t want Summit Carbon Solutions to build pipes through their property and are concerned that the company will use eminent domain to obtain an easement.

Kunz said the company had been apathetic about whether it would use the court-ordered process.

“If you read between the lines, I think that’s probably an option for them. They say they don’t want to, but they don’t tell you they won’t either,” he said. he declares.

Kunz said the moratorium will allow the county government to get more information and update zoning rules. Zoning options include requiring pipelines to be built a certain distance from a house and a certain depth underground.

Summit Carbon Solutions wrote in an email that it continues to engage and answer questions from landowners and counties. He says the project will benefit the ethanol industry and, by extension, the agricultural industry as a whole.

“Farmers and landowners understand that ethanol production consumes nearly 50% of our corn crop each year, which is a key reason we were quickly able to sign hundreds of pipeline easements along our journey with farmers who have a vested interest in our success,” the company said.

The project

Summit Carbon Solutions recently opened an application with the Public Utilities Commission after making presentations to government agencies and hosting town hall meetings with residents.

The company and land agents also began visiting landowners to ask permission to survey their property and solicit voluntary easements for permission to build the pipeline through their land.

The Midwest Carbon Express pipeline would capture carbon dioxide – a polluting gas that contributes to global warming – from 31 ethanol plants in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa. The 2,000 miles of pipeline would bring the C02 to an underground storage facility near Bismarck to prevent the gas from being released into the atmosphere.

The South Dakota part is estimated at $785 million and would involve seven ethanol plants and 469 miles of pipeline.

The pipeline route through South Dakota would cross Iowa into Lincoln County and travel northwest until it leaves McPherson County in North Dakota.

The pipeline would also cross Beadle, Brown, Clark, Codington, Edmunds, Hamlin, Hand, Hyde, Kingsbury, Lake, McCook, Minnehaha, Miner, Spink, Sully and Turner counties. Summit Carbon Solutions says it would not cross tribal lands.

The main pipe would have branches that would connect to Dakota Ethanol in Wentworth, Redfield Energy in Redfield, Ringneck Energy & Feed in Onida, and Glacial Lakes Energy in Aberdeen, Huron, Mina and Watertown.

Advantages and disadvantages

Summit Carbon Solutions claims the Midwest Carbon Express would be the largest carbon capture and storage project in the world, storing 12 million tons of C02 each year. This is equivalent to taking 2.6 million vehicles off the road every year.

The company claims that C02 pipelines are safer than other types of pipelines. He says the project would be a win for the corn and ethanol industries, which could make more money selling fuel in markets with low-carbon standards. These markets include California, Washington and Oregon.

Summit Carbon Solutions says it will compensate private landowners for easements on their land and any damage to their crops.

Critics of carbon capture include some environmentalists, landowners, and nations and tribal members.

Dakota Rural Action and the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club say carbon capture does not address the root cause of climate change and that pipelines pose safety and environmental risks.

Dakota Rural Action – which focuses on protecting the environment, agriculture and property rights – is also concerned about the eminent domain process, which it says favors outside business profits over landlords. land in South Dakota.

The PUC is hosting the following public meetings where residents can learn more about the project and provide input:

  • Onida: 5:30 p.m. March 22 at Sully Buttes High School gymnasium.
  • Sioux Falls: 5:30 p.m. on March 23 in the Washington Room of the Ramkota Conference Center.
  • De Smet: noon on March 24 at the DeSmet Event Center.
  • Redfield: 5:30 p.m. on March 24 at the Redfield School Auditorium.
  • Aberdeen: Noon on March 25 in the North Room of the Ramkota Hotel.

About Keith Tatum

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