CURE (Clean Up the River Environment) is arguing that there is nothing hypothetical about Summit Carbon Solutions’ (Summit) plans for an extensive CO2 pipeline network in Minnesota.
On Monday, February 27, Montevideo-based CURE petitioned the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to reconsider its February 6, 2023, decision to deny CURE’s Citizen Petition for environmental review of the entirety of Summit’s CO2 pipeline project in southern and western Minnesota. The PUC justified its decision by arguing that because Summit has only filed a route application for one leg of its much larger pipeline network, the other portions of the project remain “hypothetical” and are not subject to review. According to Summit’s public comments over the past 19 months and public maps, nearly 240 miles of pipeline are planned for Minnesota crossing Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Martin, Otter Tail, Redwood, Renville, Wilkin, and Yellow Medicine counties.
In November 2021, CURE submitted a Citizen Petition signed by 186 Minnesotans requesting that the state conduct an Environmental Assessment Worksheet for Summit’s Midwest Carbon Express project, a multi-state, billion-dollar CO2 pipeline network. In CURE’s recent filing to the PUC, they state that the PUC’s decision to deny the petition is both factually and legally questionable:
“according to [Summit]’s own statements, maps, communications, and actions, there is nothing hypothetical about its plans to develop the Southern route in Minnesota. By artificially separating the Northern and Southern portions of the pipeline, the [PUC] ignored the will of more than 100 Minnesotans and failed to consider the cumulative impacts of the entire Midwest Carbon Express project on the state. By doing so, the [PUC] allowed a private company to decide how and to what extent it will proceed through the environmental review process, in direct contradiction to the intent of [the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act (MEPA)].”
“Hundreds of Minnesotans, including those who live in the southern counties impacted by this project, asked the PUC to review the whole thing because they’re in the dark about what the impacts will be, who will bear the real burden, and who will benefit,” said Maggie Schuppert, CURE’s Campaigns Director. “Meanwhile, the company is going all over this part of the state, signing easements and asking for access to water and other resources they’ll need for construction and operation. These pipelines are real to the people who live here.”
The PUC’s denial decision also dismayed southern Minnesotans impacted by the planned CO2 pipelines.
“For more than a year, Summit has been in our community soliciting easements from landowners and has published the proposed route on their website. It is clear to us as landowners and residents living in the proposed pipeline footprint that Summit intends on trying to build a pipeline here,” commented Kathleen Smith, who lives near Lamberton. She continued, “For this reason, the PUC should be doing an EIS for the entire 240-mile planned footprint in Minnesota. The PUC should ensure the safety and protection of all Minnesotans living along the entirety of the proposed pipeline route in Minnesota.”
PUC Docket Number: 22-422
For more information about these projects go to www.carbonpipelinesmn.org.