Why, yes, Scott Ehrisman, Iowa businessman and SDGOP chairman Dan Lederman is pushing for a carbon pipeline across South Dakota.
A couple weeks ago, South DaCola noted that Lederman was on the October 5 agenda to brief the Minnehaha County Commission on the Summit Carbon Capture Pipeline. Lederman, identified in the minutes as representing public relations firm LS2 (a.k.a. Larson Sannahan Slifka Group of Des Moines, the outfit for whom Dan Lederman did his lobbying for Saudi Arabia), told the Minnehaha County Commission that the Summit Carbon Solutions Pipeline, also known as the Midwest Carbon Express, will capture carbon from seven South Dakota ethanol plants and 31 in a five-state region and pipe the compressed and liquefied CO2 north to be sequestered underground southwest of Bismarck, North Dakota. According to the Minnehaha minutes, Lederman said pipeline construction would begin in 2023 and operations would begin in 2024.
Lederman presented a similar sales pitch to the Brown County Commission here in Aberdeen on Tuesday, telling commissioners South Dakota has a chance to be part of a green jobs future:
The 12 million tons of annual carbon capture expected through this project is equivalent to taking 2.6 million cars off the road, the power needed for 1.4 million homes and the burning of 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline, he said.
The pipeline will add up to 17,000 construction jobs to build the $4.5 billion pipeline, with 300 to 500 of them being “lasting jobs,” Lederman said.
“When you look at what it does for South Dakota, and what it does for the Midwest: it creates more jobs … It’s a boost to household incomes,” Lederman said. “A lot of that ethanol we’re talking about would have more uses or we’d be able to produce more ethanol and boost train markets” [Trent Abrego, “Brown County Commissioners Discuss $4.5 Billion Carbon Capture Pipeline, Speed Limit Change,” Aberdeen American News, 2021.10.13].
Proposing the pipeline is Alden, Iowa, company Summit Carbon Solutions, which is owned by Summit Agricultural Group, a farm/management/investment firm founded and owned by Bruce Rastteter, who is one of the biggest Republican donors in Iowa. Former Republican Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is a senior policy advisor for Rastetter’s pipeline branch. Branstad’s longtime aide Jake Ketzner, who also chiefed Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’s staff and founded Des Moines lobbying firm Ketzner Strategies. Ketzner was also the first exec of the Iowa Conservative Energy Forum, a bunch of Iowa Republicans who got together in 2019 to steal hippie thunder on clean energy. One of the Summit Carbon Solutions’ executive VPs is Wade Boeshans, the Republican North Dakota energy exec whom Governor Doug Burgum illegally appointed to the North Dakota Legislature last fall and who now is leading North Dakota’s version of South Dakota’s Amendment C push to weaken initiative rights.
Ethanol Producer Magazine reported in July that Summit Carbon Solutions had signed agreements with 30 ethanol plants in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota to take their carbon dioxide. This week Lederman told Brown County Commissioners that South Dakota ethanolers Redfield Energy, Ringneck Energy, and Glacial Lakes are among the pipeline’s partners; Summit is still working on getting Poet Ethanol to hook up.
In August, Summit Carbon Solutions provided the Iowa Utilities Board this preliminary map of the Iowa portion of its proposed pipeline:
I do not see a docket for Summit Carbon Solutions among the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission’s Pipeline Safety dockets. But Lederman told our commissioners Summit Carbon Solutions will start public meetings with South Dakotans soon, with one meeting in Aberdeen at the end of this month.
One area landowner tells me Summit Carbon Solutions has already met with some landowners out in the field… by surprise. My source tells me some country neighbors have encountered surveyors appearing unannounced on their land to take measurements for the carbon-capture pipeline.
Iowa landowners have expressed concern that Summit Carbon Solutions’ project, also known as the Midwest Carbon Express, will mess up their drain tile and topsoil:
For Tom Kauffman, who owns land in Boone and Wright counties, the route would take the pipeline straight through his drainage tiles, which were installed in the last five years.
“It’s gonna screw up everything,” he said outside the meeting.
…Among residents’ criticisms of the project Monday — which included safety and environmental concerns, as well as potential conflicts of interest involving appointees of former Gov. Terry Branstad — were farmers’ fears that the project would be a repeat of the aftermath of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which left long-term impacts on agricultural land.
Some of those impacted by the Dakota Access Pipeline, like Keith Puntenney of Boone, said they could be impacted by the Summit pipeline, too.
“You can’t put topsoil back once you take it off,” Puntenney said at Monday’s meeting. “That’s the problem. That’s the problem with what’s going on in here” [Danielle Gehr, “‘It’s Gonna Screw Up Everything’: Boone County Farmers Decry Proposed Carbon Capture Pipeline,” Ames Tribune, 2021.10.05].
Summit says it will make money two ways, by sharing profits with the ethnaol plants for higher-quality fuel and from federal tax credits:
Summit would recoup its investment via two revenue streams. First, ethanol produced with carbon capture technology has a lower carbon intensity score and sells for a higher price. Ethanol plants would share the increased profit with Summit. According to Summit’s [COO Jimmy] Powell, 80 percent of the revenue for the project comes from that profit share.
The remaining 20 percent would come from a $50 federal tax credit for each ton of CO2 permanently sequestered (stored) underground [“Many Questions, Many Opinions About Proposed CO2 Pipeline,” Greene County News Online, 2021.10.08].
In March, Bruce Rastetter told the Bismarck Tribune that his company was also (reporter’s words) “exploring other options” for the carbon dioxide it ships, like “injecting it into depleted oil fields to boost oil production.” Helping the Bakken oilers frack our more oil would likely provide another revenue stream… and Lederman and his Republican friends do love oil money.