Supervisors hear Summit Carbon project update
The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors was given a presentation by Summit Carbon Solutions representatives regarding the proposed carbon pipeline project.
The supervisors opened the meeting with a public comment period, and heard comments from local residents regarding the project. The first to speak was Tom Honeyman from Emerson. Honeyman once again expressed his opposition to not only the project, but the use of eminent domain on private individuals.
“Despite the fairy tales that Summit will spin for you, your responsibility is for the safety of life, livestock, and land in the county. I urge you to plan for the worst scenario, as it will likely happen. If something goes wrong, it will have to be repaired, and the taxpayers will pay for it, and that tax will have to be levied on property. Regardless of the property tax charge being paid by Summit, it will not cover the cost of what the county will endure if the pipeline is put through the county,” Honeyman said.
Jonette Otte, who has a Henderson address but lives in Montgomery County, also addressed the board. Otte requested the county’s zoning board to research an ordinance concerning the proposed carbon pipeline.
“We don’t know what can happen in the future with carbon pipelines, but we do know the pipeline construction can permanently damage the land and threaten waterways. They seek to use eminent domain for private profit, and redirect tax dollars away from known climate solutions. Many of us have already said no to Summit. The pipelines can be dangerous to communities and animals,” advised Otte.
The supervisors then heard from Kaylee Langrell from Turnkey Logistics, who also represent Summit Carbon Solutions. Langrell said they wanted to share an update on the status of the project thus far, and discuss the goal of the project itself.
“Currently 57% of the corn sold in Iowa goes to ethanol plants. Once the pipeline project is completed, the ethanol plants will be able to sell into growing markets that we expect to continue to grow, and the corn producer will be able to sell their corn at a premium,” explained Langrell.
Without the project, Langrell said the ethanol plants will likely begin to struggle, which in turn would create a ripple effect that would make the corn producers struggle.
“That’s the heart of why Summit Carbon Solutions was created. It keep ethanol plants viable and allows corn producers to keep selling their corn at a premium,” commented Langrell.
According to Langrell, Summit’s estimated investment into the county was around $16 million, and the annual property taxes would generate $627,914 in revenue. Right now, Summit was planning to start construction in August of 2023.
“Currently we are at 40 percent of easement miles required in the state of Iowa, and I have been in touch with county engineer Karen Albert to discuss utility permits and other permitting to make sure we are giving the county engineers exactly what they want to see. So far, we have not submitted any permits in Montgomery County as of yet,” Langrell said.
Supervisor Charla Schmid asked why there was such an important need to capture carbon, and the purpose behind it. Langrell said the purpose for Summit was for the ethanol plants.
“Because of regulations coming down the line, ethanol plants are having to purchase carbon credits, so pumping it and sequestering it will lower the need for credits and allow them to sell their ethanol for higher premiums,” Langrell explained. “Studies show it will also be a benefit to the environment, but I know some people still debate that.”
So far, Summit has not received the state permit from the Iowa Utilities Board to proceed with the project. Also, this is the first carbon pipeline project being undertaken by Summit Carbon Solutions.
Supervisor Mike Olson advised residents who had spoken that while the board heard their concerns, the board itself had little power.
“We have no say at all in its approval. It’s all up to the Iowa Utilities Board and the State of Iowa. We sent a letter denouncing eminent domain for a for-profit company. The legislature ignored all that, and voted against limiting eminent domain,” Olson said. “I appreciate you all coming in because you’re concerned, and you’re good citizens. However, if we pass an ordinance, and the state passes a different set of guidelines, our ordinance has no meaning. There’s just not much we can do. We can hire an engineering firm to birddog these people if they go through, and we will, but that’s about all we can do.”
No further action was taken by the supervisors.