Put the brakes on Midwest Carbon Express

North Dakota’s Public Service Commission threw a major roadblock in the path of Summit Carbon Solutions’ Midwest Carbon Express on Aug. 4 when it voted unanimously to deny the company’s hazardous CO2 pipeline permit. According to PSC Chair, Randy Christmann, Summit “failed to meet its burden of proof to show that the location, construction, operation and maintenance will produce minimal adverse effects on the environment and on the citizen of North Dakota.”

Summit’s proposed route in North Dakota is part of a 2,000-mile, five-state Carbon Storage and Sequestration (CCS) plan to carry hazardous liquid CO2 from 17 ethanol plants in South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa to North Dakota where it would be permanently buried underground in abandoned oil wells west of Bismarck. When operational, investors in the $5.5 billion project would reap billions of dollars profit in carbon capture with 45Q federal tax credits. However, without the PSC permit and access to North Dakota’s underground storage sites, the Midwest Carbon Express is a pipeline to nowhere.

The Midwest Carbon Express is on shaky ground all along its multi-state route. Summit is seeking a permit in Iowa with little more than two-thirds of easements voluntarily signed. Hundreds of Iowa landowners refuse to sign and choose instead to face the prospect of eminent domain. Minnesota requires an Environmental Impact Study (EPS) and will not allow eminent domain to be used for this project. South Dakotans are outraged by the lack of action in their Legislature, and thousands have signed a petition demanding Gov. Kristi Noem call a special session.