After a unanimous vote, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has officially been confirmed as the organization that will be responsible for regulating the carbon pipelines passing through the state.
This also includes the two major multi-state pipeline projects by Summit Carbon Solutions and Navigator CO2 Ventures LLC that are set to transport sequestered CO2 from over 30 ethanol plants in five states.
In addition to naming the authority responsible for the regulation of such carbon pipelines, the PUC also announced its decision to classify CO2 as a toxic or corrosive gas, which under Minnesota statutes requires a PUC permit for transportation via pipelines.
According to the PUC, such permits need to be obtained before pipeline construction can begin.
The PUC received support from a range of different commenters, including labor unions, environmental organizations, tribal governments and individual citizens.
Carbon pipelines have been the subject of much controversy and there is significant opposition to them, largely due to safety concerns.
Hence, locals will depend on the regulator to make the permitting process will involve a thorough and reliable assessment of the socioeconomic and environmental impact of the proposed pipelines.
Thus, for the two largest proposed carbon pipeline projects (Midwest Carbon Express and Heartland Greenway) to move forward with further project components located within state borders, both projects will be required to first obtain a permit from the PUC.
Currently, the PUC is working on aligning its rules with federal and state regulations and will offer another opportunity for the public to weigh in on the rulemaking.