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Summit Carbon Solutions hires CEO for pipeline project

Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions says its $4.5 billion pipeline project will help ethanol plants lower their carbon score. The project aims to capture greenhouse gas emissions and pipe the CO2 to western North Dakota for underground storage.

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AMES, Iowa — Lee Blank, who has a background in risk management in the agriculture industry, has been named chief executive officer of Summit Carbon Solutions, which is working on a multi-state carbon capture project to benefit the ethanol industry.

Blank has more than 30 years of leadership experience as an executive with various ag companies, Summit said in a news release. Most recently, Blank was CEO of Advance Trading Inc., an advisory and risk management firm in the ag sector.

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Lee Blank, CEO of Summit Carbon Solutions
Courtesy of Summit Carbon Solutions

Summit Carbon Solutions said on July 21 that Blank will assume day-to-day leadership of Summit Carbon Solutions, working with its parent company, Summit Agricultural Group.

"Lee’s background as an accomplished leader and entrepreneur, his experience in project delivery, and his ability to develop relationships and to engage with these stakeholders make him a perfect fit,” Bruce Rastetter, CEO of Summit Agricultural Group, said in a news release.

Summit Carbon Solutions is an Iowa-based company behind a $4.5 billion project to capture carbon dioxide emissions from 32 ethanol plants in five states and pipe it to western North Dakota for underground storage.

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“Throughout my career in the agriculture industry, there has never been a more urgent need, nor a more difficult challenge than decarbonization, but at Summit Carbon Solutions we have an opportunity to make a tremendous impact on the industry’s carbon footprint, while bolstering its long-term economic fundamentals," Blank said in the release.

More carbon capture coverage
Summit Carbons Solutions has described its five-state, 2,000 mile carbon capture pipeline as being a $4.5 billion project. A 3% fee passed by Emmons County could amount to $135 million. Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions says the pipeline will help ethanol plants lower their carbon score. The project aims to capture greenhouse gas emissions and pipe the CO2 to western North Dakota for underground storage.
Landowners and community menmbers in Redwood and Cottonwood counties voiced concerns about proposed Summit Carbon Solutions proposed project at meeting in Lamberton, according to the Clean Up our River Environment organization.
Red Trail Energy in Richardton injects carbon dioxide from fermenting ethanol more than a mile underground into the Broom Creek Formation — an achievement officials say shows North Dakota is blazing the trail for renewable energy's future.

Summit Carbon Solutions also recently announced that Sabrina Ahmed Zenor is joining the company as the director of community relations.

Ahmed Zenor most recently worked as the morning news anchor on the WOI TV station in Iowa, and was the host of “This Week in Iowa.”

The carbon capture project is being met with some resistance from landowners in the path of the proposed pipeline. A group gathered to protest carbon capture pipelines at a July meeting of the Iowa Utilities Board.

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