GRANITE FALLSChippewa, Redwood, Renville and Yellow Medicine counties are among those that may be affected by a proposed Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline project.

Summit Carbon Solutions, based in Ames, Iowa, wants to build a 2,000-mile pipeline to link dozens of ethanol plants in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota.

Company representatives had met earlier this year with county commissioners in Chippewa and Yellow Medicine counties to describe plans to connect the Granite Falls Energy plant to the proposed pipeline.

They had also discussed the possibility of conducting field evaluation activities on Renville County-owned land in Hawk Creek Township with the Renville County Board of Commissioners.

During a presentation to the Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners on Aug. 24, company representatives said they would also hold meetings with the tribal governments for the Upper Sioux and Lower Sioux communities.

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During the August meeting with Yellow Medicine County, Jesse Harris, representing Summit Carbon Solutions, said the project would capture carbon dioxide now emitted to the atmosphere at each plant and compress it to a near-liquid state for transport in the pipeline. The carbon dioxide would be moved to North Dakota and “safely and permanently” stored as much as one mile underground, according to Harris.

The project represents a $4.5 billion investment. It would capture 12 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.

According to information presented to the Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners, a line from the Granite Falls Energy plant would run south to a network including the Highwater Ethanol plant in Lamberton and to the Heron Lake Bioenergy and two Green Plains plants in southern Minnesota. The Green Plains plant in Fergus Falls is also part of the proposal; a pipeline to the plant would run west to the Dakotas.

The line to the Granite Falls Energy plant would run through parts of Redwood, Chippewa and Yellow Medicine counties. The Yellow Medicine County portion would run an estimated 15.6 miles and cross under the Minnesota River. The six-inch diameter pipeline would be placed a minimum of 25 feet under the river using horizontal directional drilling technology for a distance of about 800 feet.

Company officials told the Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners that Minnesota has no regulations specific to carbon dioxide pipelines. They asked the county to develop a permit process.

Environmental groups in the state have an online petition asking the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board to require that the company prepare an environmental assessment worksheet for the project. Clean Up the River Environment in Montevideo is among the groups asking for the worksheet.