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Lederman Pitching Iowa Pals’ Five-State Carbon-Capture Pipeline

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:

Summit Carbon Solutions, "706.42 Miles of Anticipated Pipeline Routes in Iowa," filed with the Iowa Utilities Board 2021.08.04.
Summit Carbon Solutions, “706.42 Miles of Anticipated Pipeline Routes in Iowa,” filed with the Iowa Utilities Board 2021.08.04.

Summit Carbon Solutions started holding landowner meetings in Iowa in September. Summit also began meetings with North Dakota landowners this week.

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.

14 Comments

  1. larry kurtz 2021-10-15

    The House of Saud is buying up land all over the United States draining fragile aquifers and quietly lobbying for more water from the Gila River in Arizona where it raises alfalfa to ship to Saudi Arabia.

  2. Nick Nemec 2021-10-15

    All to be injected into depleted oil fields to increase production of more oil.

    Ahhh, the circle of life.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-10-15

    Nick, I was trying to figure out if the stated target injection zone of southwest of Bismarck is actually depleted oil fields, but I don’t see any maps of that part of the project.

  4. mike from iowa 2021-10-15

    The new pipeline runs real close to me, although i haven’t seen the route. Neighbors have been contacted about losing land.

    As for the carbon capture, not a single vehicle is/was/or will be taken off the road.

  5. Jake 2021-10-15

    Thanks again, Cory, for exposing these subtle plans of exploitation to the public.

  6. mike from iowa 2021-10-15

    In Nick’s link, hydrogen sulfide was mentioned. It is found in natural gas and natural gas employees claim the rotten egg smell attracts vultures who, in turn, pin point leaks.

  7. Korey Jackson 2021-10-15

    I can confirm (second hand, from a trusted source) that Summit’s survey teams have been on regional South Dakota lands this week.

    I have been watching with interest the Iowa and Nebraska news about public meetings.

    In comparison with other typelines, these type of CO2 pipelines must be relatively safe when compared to crude oil, refined petroleum, ammonia, etc.
    Of course, they are not as safe as, say, a water pipeline.

    I’d like to hear more about why / how displaced topsoil during trenching cannot be replaced (per Puntenney). Isn’t that what is done whey laying field tile?

    Ultimately, what is better: releasing the CO2 from the ethanol plants into the atmosphere, or capturing that CO2 and sequestering it in South Dakota.
    What is the proposed alternative: shut down South Dakota’s ethanol plants?

    From Iowa Public Radio:

    “Why should landowners welcome encroachment on their land for a project that doesn’t pay direct dividends to them other than a vague promise that ethanol is good for corn prices,” Richards says. “And why isn’t rent going to be paid for the land or profits shared with farmers?”

    https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/10/14/proposed-carbon-dioxide-pipeline-generates-landowner-questions/

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-10-15

    Excellent point, Korey. If someone’s going to use my land to make money, they better plan on paying me for the privilege. And if they come on my property without asking and try to take the property without my permission, my price goes way up.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-10-15

    Oh, and if Dan Lederman is doing the asking, my price automatically doubles.

  10. Mark Anderson 2021-10-15

    Yeah the ethanol boys will save Merica, just the way filtered cigarettes saved your lungs.

  11. mike from iowa 2021-10-15

    If carbon capture is so benign, why not inject it at point of production? It isn’t like carbon gets a cheap thrill out of riding in a subway, as it were.

  12. Korey Jackson 2021-10-15

    Mike from Iowa:
    Reference why not inject CO2 at the point of production:

    Geology.

    This USGS publication provides a little information regarding why CO2 sequestration in the Williston Basin appears attractive:

    https://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/1386/pdf/circular1386.pdf

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