SD Pipeline Dividing Ethanol Proponents

Photo by Kayleigh Omang, 2023

Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions wants to build a pipeline in South Dakota to transport carbon dioxide from Midwest ethanol plants to underground storage in North Dakota. The company wants to gather emissions from 32 ethanol plants, including some in South Dakota.

The project would be eligible for federal tax credits incentivizing greenhouse gas sequestration. Summit says no pipeline would break the Midwest ethanol industry and calls pipeline opponents “anti-ethanol.” The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission denied a building permit for Summit last year, citing county setback law violations. Corn farmers who have long supported ethanol were alarmed by the company’s use of eminent domain to acquire private land for the pipeline from roughly 160 farmers.

South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke says members feel betrayed. They supported a growing ethanol industry before facing an infringement on their property rights. Sombke says he’s furious at farmers being called anti-ethanol.