Summit says pipeline system won’t be operational until 2026

By: - October 19, 2023 7:03 pm

Summit Carbon Solutions’ pipeline system would transport carbon dioxide from ethanol producers in Iowa to North Dakota. (Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Summit Carbon Solutions has pushed back the estimated operational date of its sprawling carbon dioxide pipeline system by more than a year after permit setbacks in the Dakotas.

The company initially indicated its five-state, 2000-mile system would be in operation sometime in 2024. It would transport captured carbon dioxide from ethanol plants for underground sequestration in North Dakota and has the potential to gain approval yet this year in Iowa.

But utility regulators in North and South Dakota rejected Summit’s permit requests in recent months.

“We look forward to continuing to work with regulatory bodies to find a path through our five states, to begin operations in early 2026,” Summit said in a prepared statement Thursday.

The expected operational delay was first reported by Bloomberg News.

In North Dakota, the Public Service Commission has agreed to reconsider Summit’s permit request with an adjusted route.

It’s unclear how long that reconsideration process might take because state law doesn’t set a deadline for its completion. The commission recently requested specific information about the route changes so that it can determine how to proceed.

A hearing to consider whether to overrule two county ordinances that restrict pipeline placements is expected to be scheduled for no earlier than December, and it’s likely that further hearings will be held early next year to solicit input about the changes.

In South Dakota, Summit plans to adjust its route and reapply for a permit. State law requires its Public Utilities Commission to rule on a permit request within a year of application, although Summit’s first permit process there took more than a year because the company asked for an extension.

In Iowa, Summit’s final evidentiary hearing is set to resume in November. That hearing went for seven weeks starting in late August before it paused early this month due to scheduling conflicts.

The company’s permit process with the Iowa Utilities Board has been ongoing for more than two years.

“Summit Carbon Solutions remains as committed to our project as the day we announced it,” the company said Thursday.

This article first appeared in the Iowa Capital Dispatch, a sister site of the Nebraska Examiner in the States Newsroom network.

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Jared Strong
Jared Strong

Senior reporter Jared Strong has written about Iowans and the important issues that affect them for more than 15 years, previously for the Carroll Times Herald and the Des Moines Register. His investigative work exposing police misconduct has notched several state and national awards. He is a longtime trustee of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, which fights for open records and open government. He is a lifelong Iowan and has lived mostly in rural western parts of the state.