Letter: Pipeline invests in tech, North Dakota’s farmers, state’s economy and future
For many years, North Dakota’s strength has been its commitment to balanced and forward-looking policies, particularly in the realms of agriculture and energy. As long-serving members of North Dakota’s legislative body — a state senator and a state representative —we take pride in having contributed to this robust policy environment, and understand what a delicate balance it is. No one knows better than we do, if farmers are doing well, everyone is doing well.
We both come from long lines of farmers in North Dakota. The Brandenburg family goes back to the early 1900s, and the Wanzek family back to 1885. With this rich agricultural history in our backgrounds, we understand the need to adapt and grow with the times. The future is here, and it demands that we incorporate innovative solutions like carbon capture and storage (CCS) to ensure the continued prosperity of our leading industries.
We are encouraged by the progress of Summit Carbon Solutions’ Midwest Carbon Express, a proposed CO2 pipeline that aims to capture carbon from 34 ethanol plants across five states, including North Dakota, for safe and permanent storage in our state’s ideal geological formations. This project could position North Dakota as a leader in CCS technology, while also supporting our critical ethanol, agricultural, and energy industries.
It’s worth noting that 80% of landowners and farmers along the pipeline’s proposed route have already approved easements, many of whom are our constituents. After some initial glitches, the pipeline company is offering competitive easement prices, accommodating drain tile and insurance requirements, and coordinating with landowners to mitigate construction impact.
We know the importance of the ethanol industry firsthand. As farmers of corn, soybeans, and wheat, we have experienced the economic boost the ethanol plants have brought to the state — a lift in corn prices by as much as 50 cents to a dollar per bushel. That is a multi-million-dollar impact per year on North Dakota’s economy. In an age where the larger cities dictate market demand, this project allows us to “take lemons and make lemonade,” fortifying our state’s economy and preserving the livelihood of our future farmers many of whom are our own grandchildren.
Contrary to some narratives that differentiate CO2 emissions from coal and ethanol, the reality is that capturing and storing carbon is beneficial irrespective of the source. We support all forms of energy, but we also recognize the need to invest in environmentally responsible technologies.