The proposal for a carbon dioxide pipeline is attracting mixed reactions in southwestern Minnesota.

A proposal to construct a pipeline throughout 5 states to attach biofuel vegetation with everlasting carbon storage is attracting combined reactions in southwestern Minnesota, the place one a part of the mission might be working.

Underneath the plan devised by Iowa-based Summit Carbon Options, the pipeline will divert carbon dioxide emissions from ethanol vegetation to websites in North Dakota the place greenhouse gases might be injected into rock formations deep inside the earth. The corporate hopes to start out development work on the $4.5 billion mission in September.

Pipeline backers are touting the mission’s potential to fight local weather change, and increase the native financial system. However some landowners and environmental teams say they’re involved that the pipeline might break and contaminate water and farmland.

Labyrinth of pipes at the Highwater ethanol plant

A maze of pipes on the Highwater ethanol plant in rural Lumberton, Minnesota.


mobilize help

Summit Carbon Options utilized for permits this week with the Minnesota Public Utilities Fee, however backers of the mission have been working to generate help for the pipeline for months.

In late August, Highwater Ethanol held a media tour of its facility in Lumberton to indicate how the plant might finally connect with the pipeline. Highwater is one among 5 ethanol vegetation in Minnesota, and amongst 32 vegetation within the Midwest, already dedicated to the mission.

CEO Brian Kletscher says that in 2021, Highwater processed simply over 581,000 tons of corn into ethanol. In the identical yr, the plant additionally launched about 78,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

By capturing and storing the carbon emissions from ethanol manufacturing, Kletscher says Highwater might save hundreds of thousands of {dollars} yearly. Federal tax regulation permits a credit score of as much as $85 for every metric ton of carbon the power shops underground.

He says these tax financial savings will make ethanol manufacturing less expensive, and that this could assist the native agricultural financial system.

“We purchase roughly 50 % of the corn produced in Redwood County,” Kletscher stated. “It is going to be one other step for us to get extra ethanol, and that method, we can survive for a really very long time into the long run.”

Someone speaking at a press conference

Lee Blanc, CEO of Summit Carbon Options, speaks at a press convention on the Highwater Ethhanol plant on August 30 in rural Lumberton, Minnesota.


Summit Carbon Options hosts conferences to debate the mission and reply questions or tackle issues. The corporate is in search of voluntary easement rights from landowners to run the pipeline via their properties. CEO Lee Blanc stated these conversations had been principally optimistic.

“We strongly imagine that is useful to the farm gate financial system,” he stated. “And so, we would like them to be concerned, along with the truth that we’re partnering with them through the implementation of this mission via [to] bear fruit and even full it.”

However there are nonetheless obstacles.

The mission faces opposition

Peg Furshong works for the favored environmental group CURE River, based mostly in Montevideo. She is anxious that pipeline ruptures might expose groundwater to carbon dioxide, which produces carbonic acid within the native water provide. The gasoline is odorless and colorless. It’s also suffocating to people.

“No data was shared with the general public, as if there was a college being constructed, or a hospital or something huge in a big rural neighborhood,” stated Forchung. And so the shortage of transparency and the shortage of company for rural communities is admittedly essential. This level of democracy is lacking.”

About 35 miles north of Lamberton within the Decrease Sioux Indian neighborhood, the tribal council can be involved concerning the mission’s potential dangers. Though the pipeline won’t move via the reservation, it should cross the Minnesota River upstream from the neighborhood.

person standing to take a photo

Kevin O’Keefe, treasurer of the Decrease Sioux Indian Neighborhood, says a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline that may cross the Minnesota River within the route of the neighborhood’s upstream issues tribal members.

Hana Yang | MPR . Information

Kevin O’Keefe, treasurer of Decrease Sioux, worries about potential dangers to wildlife and water high quality if a pipeline leaks or bursts. He’s additionally involved about whether or not emergency responders are skilled or geared up to handle leaks or ruptures, leaving rural communities weak if correct security precautions will not be in place.

We wish to encourage inexperienced power sources. “We wish to encourage decreased burning of fossil fuels,” O’Keefe stated. “I believe that is a poor answer to that.”

Summit Carbon approached Anita Vogel’s dad and mom in Lumberton to signal an easement settlement. Some neighbors and landowners have been provided signing bonuses, Fogel stated. She shouldn’t be towards those that are contemplating signing on to the mission as a result of they want the cash to help their households and companies, however she urges others to search for extra data.

Anita Vogel poses for a photo

Anita Vogel stands the place the potential pipeline will go if her household indicators a facilitation settlement with Summit Carbon Options.


My message to fellow landowners is that there isn’t any hurry. “There isn’t a hurry in any respect,” she stated. “They should do what’s greatest for them, so long as they aren’t taken benefit of.”

Hamlin College professor David Schultz says the mission might be each essential and threatening for many who reside in rural Minnesota, and even within the Twin Cities. Schultz, who teaches political science and environmental research, stated that whereas pipelines are useful from an financial growth and power standpoint, additionally they pose dangers to the surroundings if one thing goes unsuitable.

“These pipelines play an ambiguous function in our society by way of way of life, politics, power, and a complete host of various issues that the majority of us do not take into consideration each day,” Schultz added.

Larry Leibold takes a picture

Larry Leibold stands the place a possible pipeline would go if his household signed a facilitation settlement with Summit Carbon Options. The Leppold household leases a portion of farmland in Heron Lake, Minnesota, with the Heron Lake Bio Power ethanol plant within the background.


Larry Leibold farms land in Lake Heron, greater than 30 miles south of Lumberton. Summit Carbon Options approached him concerning the facility a number of months in the past, however Liepold stated he declined the supply.

“Nothing ought to undergo with out a little resistance to strive it and see if it is price it,” stated Leibold. “Primarily as a result of we have taken a place that we wish to be compensated pretty, if we determine it is good for our area.”