CENTRAL CITY, Neb. — America's heartland could be key to our low-carbon future. Now, a proposed pipeline may be getting closer to construction as 70 percent of landowners in one local county are on board.
As he works on an irrigation system in a field, Greg Greving recently received what you might call seed money.
“There was a lot of neighbors we talked and said might as well sign up, take the money and run,” he said with a laugh.
He's among the Nebraska landowners getting a share of the money Summit Carbon Solutions has paid out.
“Compensated for land rights and prepared damages to the tune of $33 million, that's money in landowners pockets today,” Rob Latimer told the Merrick County board. Latimer represents Summit Carbon Solutions which plans to build a 2,000 mile pipeline to capture carbon from ethanol plants in five states and transport it to North Dakota to be sequestered.
Greving says he's on board because it will lower the carbon footprint of the local ethanol plant. “We need to make sure our corn gets into the cars in California,” he said of his belief in lower the carbon footprint of ethanol.
Nebraska regulates oil pipelines but has no state oversight of projects like this as Summit goes county by county giving updates to little fanfare.
“It's been pretty quiet, haven't had much in my area,” Merrick County Chair Roger Wiegert said of the local reaction.
This is not so in other states where landowners have raised concerns about property rights and safety.
"There’s more conversations around the project,” Latimer told the board.
Merrick County does have some productive farm ground that could be impacted, including seed corn on Greving’s fields.
“I may not be able to put seed corn on ground during the year of construction,” he said.
Greving says checks to cover crop losses won't be a money maker. He just hopes it covers the cost.
“When it happens, it'll hit home, did they figure this right to where we did get compensated for losses,” he said.
He says most landowners are content to take the money.
“We’ve done the math and we signed it, and we'll wait and see what happens,” he said.
The company says it's closing in on two-thirds of the route through Nebraska with plans to begin construction late this year or early 2024.