North Dakota Legislator calling for investigation into Summit Carbon Solutions investors

Press conference set for Monday in Bismarck; Iowa is considering easement mediators on the five-state carbon capture pipeline project.

Harold Hamm, left, Bill Berry, center, and Gary Tharaldson, right.
Harold Hamm, left, founder of Continental Resources, and Bill Berry, center, the current CEO of Continental Resources, speak with Gary Tharaldson, right, at Tharaldson Ethanol in Casselton, North Dakota, on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. Continental Resources announced it was investing in the Summit Carbon Solutions carbon capture pipeline project involving Tharaldson Ethanol and ethanol plants in four other states. Tharaldson also is an investor in the project.
Jeff Beach / Agweek

A group of North Dakota legislators wants to press the state attorney general’s office to investigate the ownership of pipeline company Summit Carbon Solutions.

State Sen. Jeff Magrum announced that there will be a press conference Tuesday, May 23, at the North Dakota Capitol to ask for the investigation.

The question of who has invested in Summit Carbon Solutions has been raised at North Dakota Public Service Commission hearings. At the most recent hearing, May 9 in Linton , Magrum brought up North Dakota’s newly passed laws affecting foreign investment in the United States.

Magrum, a Republican from Hazelton, said Friday that Summit’s investors include entities from China, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

North Dakota law now bans investment from “foreign adversaries,” which would include China.


Jimmy Powell, chief operating officer for Summit Carbon Solutions, testifies Tuesday, March 14, at the North Dakota Public Service Commission hearing for a proposed carbon pipeline project.
Darren Gibbins / Bismarck Tribune

When asked on May 9 where Summit’s investors were located, Summit Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Powell said the investors include funds and would not be able to know where all the investors in those funds are from.

Attorney Randy Bakke asked Powell about the TPG Rise Fund, which he said is partially owned by China’s Silk Road Fund.

Powell responded by saying, “I'm not an expert in who the investors are in TPG Rise Fund.”

According to testimony at the hearing, Summit had provided a list of just five investors to the PSC.

If built, the Summit pipeline would begin in Iowa, where Summit is based. It would capture carbon dioxide emissions from ethanol plants in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and one plant in North Dakota. The liquid CO2 would be pumped to North Dakota for underground storage.

Summit issued this statement on Magrum's announcement:

"During the North Dakota legislative session this year, every single one of Senator Magrum’s proposals related to carbon capture projects was rejected and he is now resorting to making unfounded accusations. In contrast, a wide range of individuals and organizations share the view that this project offers significant opportunities to safely reduce the carbon footprint of the ethanol industry while opening new market opportunities. This supports an 'all of the above' approach to national energy security by enhancing the production of domestic renewable energy and subsequently reducing our reliance on foreign oil."

The company will continue to meet or exceed all federal, state, and local regulatory requirements, including financial requirements, as we work to open new economic opportunities for ethanol producers, strengthen the agricultural marketplace for farmers, and generating new revenues for local communities to support schools, hospitals, roads and more.


Some of Summit’s announced investors include John Deere, Continental Resources, and Gary Tharaldson, owner of Tharaldson Ethanol in Casselton, North Dakota.

SK E&S of South Korea announced last year it acquired a 10% share of Summit.

Easement mediators in Iowa?

The Iowa Utilities Board is considering using third-party mediators to help landowners negotiate easements with Summit Carbon Solutions, the company behind what it calls the world’s largest carbon capture and storage project.

The Iowa Utilities, which holds the decision-making authority on Summit’s permit application in that state, announced it is considering using mediators in a news release announcing a partial schedule of meetings on the Summit project .

The first date being announced is a status conference June 6. Using mediators, if requested by landowners, is one of the topics to be discussed.

Other topics include:

  • Using presiding officers to receive testimony and evidence from landowners subject to eminent domain and Summit Carbon as it relates to that landowner’s parcel; and
  • the establishment of satellite locations allowing for remote participation in or viewing of the public hearing from locations closer to the homes and businesses of affected individuals. 

The June 6 status conference will begin immediately after the IUB’s monthly public board meeting, which starts at 9 a.m. A second status conference is scheduled after the July 10 IUB meeting.
The mediation services would be free to landowners.

“The Board has consistently heard from landowners, both in person and via submitted comments, that the easement negotiation process is complicated, confusing, and stressful,” the IUB said in an order on May 19.


“The Board is exploring this option due to the number of parcels impacted by Summit Carbon’s proposed hazardous liquid pipeline and a desire to expand public access to and simplify the proceeding.”

The Sierra Club, which has been helping organize Iowa landowners resisting the pipeline, issued a statement critical of the partial schedule as being too rushed.

“There are many reasons not to rush these hearings: two new IUB members who have two years of work to catch up on, impending new safety rules from PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) for carbon pipelines, ongoing lawsuits against landowners and counties regarding ordinances and surveys and more,” Jess Mazour said in a news release.

Summit issued this statement:

"Summit Carbon Solution appreciates the Iowa Utilities Board issuing an order scheduling a significant portion of the procedural schedule for our project. In the nearly two and a half years since we first announced our carbon capture, transportation, and storage project, Summit team members have completed thousands of one-on-one meetings with landowners and more than 100 public meetings, plus the required IUB county informational meetings. The results of that outreach demonstrate that Iowa landowners support this project and want to see it move forward."

Reach Agweek reporter Jeff Beach at or call 701-451-5651.
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