Plain Talk: North Dakota’s Sierra Club doesn’t oppose carbon capture pipeline


MINOT, N.D. — The Sierra Club in other states, such as Iowa, is opposed to the Carbon Express pipeline, but not in North Dakota.

They’re not against it.

They’re also not for it.

“If we voted, we would probably vote to oppose it,” Dr. Dexter Perkins, a member of the North Dakota chapter of the high-profile environmental activist group, told me on this Plain Talk.

When I wrote in a recent column that the Sierra Club opposes the pipeline, Perkins actually emailed me to protest my characterization.

His group, at least, is not opposed.

Perkins, who is also a geologist at the University of North Dakota, says he’s skeptical that the pipeline will work, but he and his group are hoping it does.

“We’re hoping we’re wrong,” he said, noting that the club’s refusal to condemn the project “puts us in the minority among environmental groups.”

That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of the pipeline, which would bring carbon emissions from ethanol plants across the Upper Midwest to North Dakota where they would be pumped underground, but given the intensity of environmental politics, but given the polarizing nature of environmental politics in America, the reticence to be opposed seems like a breakthrough for pragmatism.

Perkins agrees. “We’re a pretty practical bunch of people,” he said of his Sierra Club chapter.