By Leah Douglas
April 19 (Reuters) - Summit Carbon Solutions, the developer of what would be the world's largest carbon capture project, told Reuters it has secured 20% of its pipeline route in Iowa, the state that would host the longest stretch of pipe.
The company said the Midwest Carbon Express project is set to begin construction next year, despite ongoing resistance from some landowners and environmental groups concerned about the project's potential impact.
"Our project is on track and on schedule," company spokesperson Jesse Harris said.
Summit's project is meant to capture millions of tons of carbon dioxide from 32 Midwest ethanol plants and pipe it nearly 2,000 miles to an underground storage site in North Dakota.
The project would help the biofuels industry reduce its carbon footprint and take advantage of federal and state subsidies for carbon capture and low carbon fuels.
But landowners and environmental groups are mounting opposition over concerns the line could reduce farm yields during construction or pose a public safety threat if there is a leak.
If the pipeline is built, Iowa would host the most miles at 681. Summit said it now has easements covering about 20% of its route in the state, or 136 miles, about 7% of the total pipeline mileage.
The company did not provide information about how much of its route is secured in the four other states the pipeline will cross.
Summit began negotiating easements with landowners in late October after a series of public hearings.
Two other companies, Navigator CO2 Ventures and Wolf Carbon Solutions, are also hoping to build Midwest carbon pipelines.
If the companies are unable to secure voluntary easements, they would need to use eminent domain to gain access to the pipeline routes. At least 20 Iowa counties have filed objections with state regulators against the use of eminent domain for the projects. (Reporting by Leah Douglas; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)