CO2 pipeline planned from Fergus Falls to Breckenridge

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

Representatives of Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions addressed the five-person Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday morning, Sept. 26. 

Plans call for transporting captured carbon dioxide (CO2) by pipeline from the Green Plains Ethanol Plant northwest of Fergus Falls to a location south of Breckenridge. From there, the CO2, if approved by state regulators, would be piped to north central North Dakota for sequestering and safe storage.

Even if all goes according to plan, the pipeline completion from Fergus Falls to Breckenridge would likely not take place until after the spring of 2025.

“The Minnesota regulatory process is lengthy,” said Carbon Solutions representative Scott O’Konek to county commissioners. “Also, state approval is needed in North Dakota before we would build the pipeline between Fergus Falls and Breckenridge.”

Many easements have been obtained following negotiations with area farmers, but several people, including some county commissioners, still have concerns about the safety of the proposed pipeline. 

With that in mind, Summit Carbon Solutions representatives told county commissioners that surge protection and automatic valve shutdown would take place in the event of significant pressure fluctuations.

“Monitors are used across the entire system here in the United States with instrumentation located at capture facilities, valve sites, pump stations and sequestration sites,” said O’Konek.

Area farmers are being assured that there will only be voluntary easements, with no eminent domain. Also, there would be lifetime warranties on tile repairs on individual farm sites when needs arise. 

Land restoration is also assured as a continuing obligation of Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions.

Other county board

business on Sept. 26

A Phelps Mill boardwalk and prairie restoration plan was approved by county board members, on the recommendation of County Parks and Trails Director Kevin Fellbaum. To that end, the county is starting with an ecological study through Fargo-based Houston Engineering.

Otter Tail County commissioners, on Sept. 26, gave continued support for the DWI Court which is in its 16th year. Also reapproved was a relatively new program, the Drug and Treatment Court.

Both programs include counseling services and support groups. The goals are to produce healthier law-abiding citizens and improving public safety. Providing information to county commissioners was County Probation Director Mike Schommer.

Otter Tail County continues to explore development of a program used in some other counties in Minnesota. A Family Resource Center (FRC) is a community-based or school-based hub of support for families in order to reduce isolation and stress.

“The goals of the FRC are to support families to be strong, healthy and successful,” said County Human Services Director Deb Sjostrom. “Services would include parenting support, child development activities and parent leadership development.”

County board members, on Sept. 26, supported contracting with a consultant for exploration and assessment work. The county would likely run a Family Resource Center (FRC) in various communities in association with organizations such as the local Family Services Collaborative.