Minnesota regulators vote to proceed with environmental review of disputed carbon capture pipeline

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota regulators voted Thursday to move forward with an environmental review for part of a proposed but controversial pipeline network that would transport planet-warming carbon dioxide from Midwest ethanol plants to a permanent underground storage site.

Based in Iowa Summit wants to create carbon solutions A $5.5 billion, 2,000-mile (3,200 km) pipeline network across five states to permanently trap carbon dioxide from more than 30 ethanol plants underground in central North Dakota instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.

But the project has faced resistance.

North Dakota regulators on August 5 Summit’s application was rejected For original permissions. South Dakota landowners The company has objected to the use of eminent domain along the route, concerned about the risk of a pipeline bursting and property rights. Iowa regulators recently began weeks of hearings, while South Dakota regulators will begin hearings next month. The network will also cross parts of Nebraska, where counties will be the regulators.

Other similar projects have been proposed across the country as industries try to reduce their carbon footprint. Supporters say Carbon capture will tackle climate change. Government and companies is Make big investments It is. But opponents say technology Not proven at scale and may require large investments Cost of alternative energy sources Such as solar and wind energy.

The question before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Thursday was narrow: Whether to approve a draft plan with the scope for a formal environmental review for a small portion of the proposed project, a 28-mile segment in Minnesota It would connect an ethanol plant in Fergus Falls to the North Dakota border, where it would connect to Summit’s network. The commissioners unanimously approved it.

Minnesota-based rural environmental advocacy group CURE asked the PUC to indefinitely postpone any decision because of the North Dakota Public Service Commission’s decision to deny certification of the route permit required for the project. North Dakota regulators cited several issues they said the summit did not adequately address, such as impacts to cultural resources, geological instability and Landlord concerns.

CURE said it would be a waste of state resources to move forward with an environmental review in Minnesota — that the project would be a “pipeline somewhere” without North Dakota’s critical approval.

But Summit recently appealed to North Dakota regulators to reconsider. Company attorney Christina Bruceven told Minnesota regulators that Summit hopes it will be able to address North Dakota’s concerns in the coming months, so Minnesota should not wait to begin its review process.

PUC Staff told commissioners Before Thursday’s hearing they had hoped the review would lead to the completion of a draft environmental impact this winter, followed by a public comment process. If the commission determines that the final review meets the legal requirements, the PUC could decide whether to issue a route permit for the project as early as next summer.

Summit plans to file additional permit applications in the coming months for a longer and physically separate portion of its proposed network that would connect several ethanol plants in southern Minnesota to a proposed main line in Iowa.



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