by Mike Moen, special to KIOW News
Minnesota regulators are putting together plans to review a proposed carbon pipeline for the western part of the state. A meeting was held that set some conditions for considering the application, amid local concerns. Summit Carbon Solutions wants to capture carbon dioxide from ethanol plants and transport it via pipeline through several states, including Minnesota, then store it underground in North Dakota. Environmental groups say this approach has too many unknowns, and farmers, like Ted Winter, worry about the impact on agricultural land.
Winter, also a Minnesota Farmers Union board member, argues producers who agree to land easements might only get a one-time payment, while companies behind these projects see more financial benefits. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted to include a full Environmental Impact Statement for Summit’s application. A representative for the company argued that pipeline review rules already have a sufficient way of considering environmental factors.
During the hearing, PUC Chair Katie Sieben noted that, since this is a new kind of project for Minnesota and with documented concerns from the public, the state should play it safe by adding the environmental component to the process.
Attorney Christy Brusven, representing Summit, suggested a longer review would cut into the mission of the project.
More broadly, environmental groups say carbon capture might work in theory, but they worry about it being scaled up too fast without more knowledge of its safety, impact on water, and other issues.