Summit says it has 70% of easements needed for pipeline in ND

The company says it has secured about 70% of the right-of-way needs in North Dakota for what it calls the world’s biggest carbon capture and storage project

Officials at Tharaldson Ethanol in Casselton, North Dakota, says the plant produces about 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide per day. A carbon capture pipeline could dramatically reduce that.
Jaryn Homiston / Agweek

Summit Carbon Solutions, the company trying to build what it calls the world’s biggest carbon capture and storage project, says it now has secured about 70% of the right-of-way needs for the pipeline in North Dakota.

Summit plans to capture liquid carbon dioxide from 32 ethanol plants in the Upper Midwest, including one plant in North Dakota, and pipe it to western North Dakota for underground storage.


Summit says the hazardous liquid pipeline system will benefit the ethanol plants by cutting their carbon intensity score and opening up markets with clean fuel standards, such as California, to the corn-based fuel from the plants along the pipeline.

Summit’s announcement on Monday, March 27, comes the day before a second public hearing on Summit’s route permit application with the North Dakota Public Service Commission.

The PSC is holding a hearing at the North Sargent School Activity Center in Gwinner for Dickey and Sargent counties.


Wade Boeshans, Summit Carbon Solutions
Courtesy of Summit Carbon Solutions

Dickey County is where Wade Boeshans of Summit Carbon Solutions says it has made significant progress recently in reaching agreements with landowners on voluntary easements. But he said progress also has been made in Cass and Richland counties and elsewhere along the more than 300 miles of the route in North Dakota.

Summit is “continuing to make really significant progress on right-of-way acquisition,” Boeshans said, with Summit paying landowners for access.

Some landowners continue to hold out, however. Landowners could be forced to provide right-of-way for the pipeline if Summit is granted a permit and a court awards Summit with the right of eminent domain.

Landowners had expressed concerns about the safety of the pipeline, effects on property value, and damage to farmland.

Sadie Bro lives in a rural area north of Bismarck along the pipeline route. She testified at the first PSC hearing that Summit surveyors did not give her the courtesy of letting her know when they would be on their land, as she had requested.

“It is pretty sad when I know how much we paid for our property, and to consider that they would even threaten to take away my property if I didn't sign some easement,” Bro said, after waiting about 12 hours to testify at the Bismarck hearing on March 14.

Boeshans said there has been a “robust discussion, as there should be” on the safety of liquid carbon dioxide pipelines, which are subject to federal regulations.

A rupture of a high-pressure pipeline has the potential to be fatal, though there has never been a fatality in the U.S. related to CO2 pipelines. A rupture in 2020 in Mississippi did sicken several people.


Two counties along the pipeline route in North Dakota, Emmons and Burleigh, have passed ordinances to make it more difficult to site the pipeline.

“We're still hopeful that we can work through that with the counties, but at the end of the day, in many cases, they've overstepped their jurisdictional authorities,” Boeshans said.

The only North Dakota ethanol plant that is so far on the Summit pipeline route is Tharaldson Ethanol in Casselton. It also is one of the largest of the ethanol plants that would be connected by 2,000 miles of pipeline in five states.

Boeshans said the pipeline is essential to two key industries in North Dakota: energy and agriculture.

“For North Dakota more broadly, it's strategic to the future of a much larger segment of our economy — 70% of our economy is ag and energy,” Boeshans said. “And what you're seeing is the convergence of those two industries around carbon management.”

A total of four hearings have been set for this spring on Summit's pipeline permit application with the North Dakota PSC.

Reach Agweek reporter Jeff Beach at or call 701-451-5651.
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