This story has been updated with comments from a Navigator official, comments from POET and a statement from Summit Carbon Solutions.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Navigator has canceled its 1,300-mile proposed carbon dioxide project, the company announced today.
About 112 of those miles would have run through South Dakota. The pipeline would have also been installed in four states parts of Iowa and Illinois. The project was called the Heartland Greenway project.
The cancelation comes after the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission denied the Navigator permit application in September. Earlier this month, the company asked the Iowa Utilities Board to pause its permit process.
Navigator was one of two companies proposing CO2 pipelines that involved South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota as well as other states. Summit Carbon Solutions proposes about 469 miles in South Dakota. The South Dakota PUC rejected Summit’s application in September.
Both companies would have captured CO2 at their partner ethanol plants. Summit plans to store the CO2 underground in North Dakota. Navigator officials planned to store the CO2 underground in Illinois. Navigator officials have also said the pipeline would allow industries that use CO2 to tap into the pipelines at transmission sites. CO2 has been used in concrete, dry ice, plastics and other products.
Pipeline partners in the ethanol industry and several representatives of the agriculture industry have said the CO2 pipeline was important to the industry as it reduced the carbon footprint of the industry and would allow more ethanol to be sold in states such as California with strict carbon regulations.
POET, one of larger ethanol companies, was a partner in the Navigator project. POET is based in Sioux Falls.
“As a company, POET remains committed to pursuing viable technologies that help us maintain access to fuel markets and increase value for farmers. We believe that states that are slow to adopt these technologies risk being left behind,” a POET spokesperson said in an email response to KELOLAND questions.
“The safe and responsible use of carbon capture represents a consequential opportunity to transform rural economies and benefit farm families, much like the bioethanol industry has done over the past four decades. CCUS technology has the potential to not only further decarbonize bioethanol but also to utilize the captured carbon to meet growing market demand, add value to every bushel of corn and every acre of land, and ensure the prosperity of American agriculture for future generations,” POET said in its email.
Critics of the proposed project, including the Sierra Club, have said the cancelation is a victory for landowners and the public in multiple media reports.
“We still believe that carbon management and carbon capture technology specifically will be an incredibly important tool. The plants that were part of our proposed project are free to explore other carbon management ventures,” Elizabeth Burns-Thompson of Navigator said in an email response to KELOLAND questions.
“As good stewards of capital and responsible managers of people, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the Heartland Greenway project. We are disappointed that we will not be able to provide services to our customers and thank them for their continued support,” Matt Vining, the chief executive officer of Navigator CO2 said in the company’s Oct. 20 news release.
“At this point in time we do not have plans for another CO2 pipeline project within this footprint,” Burns-Thompson said in her email.
Although Navigator was working to obtain voluntary easements along its proposed route, Burns-Thompson qualified on Oct. 20 that those secured were easement options. Navigator had voluntary cooperation, but it was also met with opposition, including in South Dakota.
Summit Carbon Solutions has also reached easement agreements but also faced opposition.
Summit Carbon Solutions released a statement today on Navigator’s decision.
“Summit Carbon Solutions welcomes and is well positioned to add additional plants and communities to our project footprint. We remain as committed to our project as the day we announced it. It’s not often you get the opportunity to positively impact an industry that touches every farmer and rural community across the Midwest,” a company spokesperson said in the release. “We have reached voluntary agreements along nearly 75% of our proposed route – we are pleased that the vast majority of landowners and farmers across the Midwest embrace the project. We look forward to building a generational asset that will create new markets for the ethanol industry and farmers.”