At Minnesota pipeline hearings, public can point questions at Summit Carbon Solutions
The first Minnesota Public Utilities Commission meetings on the Summit Carbon Solutions carbon capture pipeline are May 2 in Breckenridge and May 3 in Fergus Falls.
ST. PAUL — When the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission holds its first public meetings on a controversial carbon capture pipeline, people will get a chance to ask questions of the company behind the $5.5 billion project — Summit Carbon Solutions.
The Iowa-based company is planning to build 2,000 miles of pipeline across five states to link 32 ethanol plants to an underground storage site in western North Dakota.
One of those plants is the Green Plains ethanol plant at Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Summit has filed for a permit with the Minnesota PUC for about 28 miles of pipeline in Otter Tail and Wilken counties before it crosses into North Dakota.
The meeting schedule is:
May 2: 6 - 9 p.m. at Breckenridge High School in Wilkin County.
May 3: 1 - 4 p.m. and 6 - 9 p.m. at the Bigwood Event Center in Fergus Falls in Otter Tail County.
May 4: 6 - 9 p.m. online at https://bit.ly/CO2PipelineMtg . Those interested also can call-in to the meeting at 1-408-418-9388. The password is Commerce1.
Charley Bruce of the PUC said there will be short presentations from the commission, from the Minnesota Department of Commerce on environmental impact, and from Summit Carbon Solutions.
The public can then ask questions of either agency or Summit or make comments.
That differs from the process in North Dakota, where the public has been able to provide testimony at public hearings, but has not been able to direct questions at Summit officials or the Public Service Commission.
North Dakota’s PSC also does not take online comments. In Minnesota, an online comment period is open until May 18.
North Dakota’s first hearing on the pipeline, in Bismarck, lasted more than 12 hours and still did not allow enough time for all the testifiers in attendance. A continuation of that hearing has been set for June 2.
Other North Dakota hearings have lasted several hours. Comments from the public have focused on concerns about the safety of the hazardous liquid pipeline; the impact on farmland , especially land with drain tile; and the potential use of eminent domain to obtain right of way for the pipeline.
Summit says it has been working with landowners to obtain voluntary easements for the pipeline.
Summit’s selling points include benefits to the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions; benefits to the ethanol industry and corn growers; and providing jobs.
In addition to Minnesota and North Dakota, the pipeline would connect to ethanol plants in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Summit’s original timeline was to obtain permits in 2022; begin construction in 2023 and be operational in 2024. It has yet to obtain any permits and its estimated cost has increased from $4.5 billion to $5.5 billion.
The next public hearing in North Dakota will be at 9 a.m. May 9 at the Emmons County Courthouse in Linton.