October 18, 2022

Bismarck Tribune

Guest Opinion by Lee Blank, CEO of Summit Carbon Solutions

Over the past two decades, the GDP in North Dakota more than doubled. Building on the strong foundation of the state’s agricultural economy, the energy industry grew exponentially in this timeframe and in the process created good paying jobs, supported local businesses, and provided new revenue to communities across North Dakota. These two industries, with the support of policymakers across the state, helped bolster the economy and enhanced family incomes. Today, I believe carbon capture projects will be equally important in keeping these critical industries growing in the decades to come.

Recently, I had the privilege of being appointed CEO of Summit Carbon Solutions, a Midwest-based company that is partnering with 32 ethanol plants and thousands of landowners. Our project will help these facilities reduce the carbon intensity of the ethanol they produce and, as a result, these companies will be able to sell their product in markets that incentivize the use of low carbon fuels. Whether you believe in the necessity of reducing CO2 emissions or not, accessing these markets is vital to maintaining a strong ethanol industry that is capable of continuing to purchase approximately half of all the corn grown in the U.S. Even more specifically for North Dakota, the sequestration component of our project and others has the potential to utilize the state’s unique geology to create a new industry that will drive economic growth.

We are pleased that Midwesterners are responding favorably to this project. The company has partnered with 2,000 landowners to sign 3,200 easement agreements. Here in North Dakota, the company has signed agreements with more than 500 landowners, which includes 85% of the area where we have proposed to permanently store CO2. We look forward to continuing answering questions from landowners, addressing any concerns there may be, and working toward agreements that are mutually beneficial.

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