Summit Carbon pushes back on CO2 pipeline safety concerns
Summit Carbon Solutions says the more than 2,000 miles of pipeline is on track to finish “on time.” During a tour of ethanol facility in Onida Tuesday, representatives from Summit urged landowners to get on board with the project.
ONIDA, S.D. - Summit Carbon Solutions CEO Lee Blank says the company’s $4.5 billion dollar investment is good for the state and the globe.
“The carbon intensity score around industry, not just agriculture, but industry in general is going to be more relevant moving forward,” Blank told reporters during a media event Tuesday. “And as it becomes more relevant, the penalties for not complying with a certain level is going to hurt plants to where they cannot be competitive in the market anymore.”
During a tour event at the Ringneck Ethanol Energy Plant in Onida Tuesday, officials from Summit and the Ethanol Plant dismissed concerns about the safety of the pipeline.
“The pipe is not going to crack very easily, that would have to be something pretty severe,” Blank said. Blank could not confirm whether or not the company had submitted a dispersion model to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for review yet. “It is not explosive, it is pressurized. So there would be a pressure release if something happened. But there are about 5,000 miles of pipeline in the U.S. today that are carrying carbon, and few errors have happened.”
But the plan has been anything but accepted by many in the region. Last week, Summit filed lawsuits against dozens of landowners across South Dakota. Those property owners are fighting back against eminent domain, which allows the take over of private property for public use.
“I certainly understand the argument, but to me it is just bigger than any one land owner,” Blank said. “I have talked about what I think this project means for agriculture as a whole, and it is why I think it is worth the challenge to try and do this.”
Summit says that they have secured voluntary easements from 45% of landowners along the proposed route in South Dakota, which would enter the state at Lincoln County, and exit into North Dakota at McPherson County.
For Ringneck Energy and Feed CEO Walter Wendland, being one of the seven ethanol plants connected to the pipeline is about more than just a few extra dollars. It is also a way to keep their business afloat, in the event the federal government cracks down on carbon emissions.
“They’re talking about eventually charging us for the carbon release,” Wendland explained. “If they do start a carbon tax, it will break us. So it is really important that we get that carbon sequestered, to avoid a future tax on carbon.”
Summit Carbon says that even despite the lawsuits, their plans our on their original schedule. They say they would like to have the pipeline fully operational before the end of 2024.
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