Prospective biofuel processor Gevo is now backing up its threat to pull its billion-dollar state-subsidized project out of Kingsbury County and South Dakota with a deadline: approve the Summit Carbon Solutions carbon-dioxide pipeline within six months, or we’re outta here:
South Dakota could lose its largest proposed economic development project if the carbon dioxide sequestration landscape doesn’t change, Gevo’s chief executive officer said this week.
“If we don’t have resolution, say, in six months, I think I better move to another state. That’s what I think. I need to have a line of sight that it’s gonna happen for real,” Dr. Patrick Gruber, the CEO of Gevo, said Monday in KELOLAND News interview.
…Gevo planned to work with Summit as CO2 from the plant would be transported in the Summit pipeline. The plant site would include an ethanol plant and a hydrocarbon plant.
Gruber said Gevo has already invested at least $100 million in the state and wants to stay here. Yet, the existing landscape makes it more difficult to secure investors, he said.
…CO2 pipelines and sequestration have met resistance in South Dakota, but it’s part of the future of carbon abatement and renewable and sustainable fuel, he said.
“People need to understand this ship has left. It has left,” Gruber said. “Sequestration is going to happen. Does South Dakota want to participate or not? That’s it. That’s a fair choice for everybody” [Rae Yost, “State Could Lose $1 Billion Project, Gevo CEO Says,” KELO-TV, 2023.11.01].
Dr. Gruber does not address in this KELO interview one major source of opposition to Summit’s pipeline, the company’s use of eminent domain to seize land rights along the route. Carbon sequestration may be just as great as Gevo’s bio-jetfuel, but as long as it is a private business making private profit, it ought not use eminent domain.
But there you have it: if the four counties (Minnehaha, Brown, Spink, and McPherson) that imposed zoning ordinances blocking Summit Carbon Solutions’ original route don’t rewrite their ordinances and if the Public Utilities Commission does not receive, hear, and approve a new application from Summit or some other ambitious pipeliner in six months, by the beginning of May 2024, Gevo will pick up its toys and cash and move.