First CO2 Pipeline application filed with PUC as landowners ask about safety, eminent domain of a for-profit company

First CO2 Pipeline application filed with PUC, landowners ask about safety, eminent domain
Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 8:02 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission is reviewing its first application for a Carbon dioxide pipeline.

Summit Carbon Solutions’ application with the PUC would take CO2 originating in Iowa and move it north for burial in North Dakota.

Another company hopes to file with the PUC soon.

Navigator CO2 wants to build their Heartland Greenway Pipeline to move CO2 south to Illinois.

Both lines would pick up additional CO2 at ethanol and fertilizer plants on the way.

Jake Kessner of Summit Carbon solutions says they’re building the pipeline for the farmers.

“So that our ethanol plants can be competitive for decades to come, which then in which keep a strong corn market, which then keeps the strong land market for farmers. And that’s why we’re really focused on this project,” said Kessner.

Bill Caram of the Pipeline Safety Trust believes it’s also about money, around $40 billion to have pipelines operational by 2026.

“It’s kind of this gold rush to get these pipelines built as fast as possible. Big driver right now, is there these tax credits that were put in the infrastructure bill,” said Caram.

For South Dakota Sierra Club Chair Mark Winegar, safety is more important. He believes safety promises will fall short.

“We’ll know before it happens, we’ll fix it. It’s all BS. Don’t believe it,” said Winegar.

He’s followed oil pipeline leaks in South Dakota, this new era is alarming to him.

“Carbon dioxide is an odorless, poisonous gas it’s fatal,” said Winegar.

We asked Winegar about a map showing one of the proposed pipelines half a mile away from Valley Springs Elementary.

“It should not be anywhere near schools,” said Winegar. “Children are our most valuable resource.”

Caram says if there will be a CO2 pipeline in South Dakota, there are things to make a CO2 pipeline safer, which currently are not required.

“And so adding an odorant like they do with natural gas so that people know that there’s been a release, installing what are called fracture arresters at pretty close distances. A valve can act as an arrestor, and often these valves are only every 10 miles and that’s just too far away,” said Caram.

The PUC will take about a year to review the application and receive input.

“The decision of PUC commissioners has nothing to do with whether we like pipelines or don’t like pipelines,” said PUC Chairman Chris Nelson. “Our decisions are based on clear criteria established in state law.”

The renewal fuel association states that carbon capture and sequestration is a way for ethanol plants to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Whatever opinion landowners, farmers or other residents have, there is time to speak up.

“Gotta communicate you gotta get let people know when you’re meeting. Express yourself peacefully,” said Winegar.

A landowners group is meeting on March 5th at the Valley Springs American Legion.

The PUC has meeting locations lined up from March 22nd through the 25th in Onida, Sioux Falls, De Smet, Redfield, and Aberdeen.

According to PUC Chairman Chris Nelson, in South Dakota, eminent domain proceedings are between the developer and landowner and decided in circuit court.

With either pipeline, the CO2 would move through Iowa. An Iowa Senate panel advanced a bill last week that would take away the Iowa Utilities Board’s ability to grant eminent domain rights to private companies, including carbon pipelines.

Upcoming pipeline meetings in SD

Tuesday, March 22, 2022 5:30 p.m. CDT

Sully Buttes High School Gymnasium, 500 S. 8th Street, Onida, South Dakota

Wednesday, March 23, 2022 5:30 p.m. CDT

Washington Room, Ramkota Conference Center, 3200 W. Maple Street, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Thursday, March 24, 2022

12:00 p.m. (noon) CDT

De Smet Event Center, 705 Wilder Lane, De Smet, South Dakota

5:30 p.m. CDT

Redfield School Auditorium, 111 E. 6th Avenue, Redfield, South Dakota

Friday, March 25, 2022 12:00 p.m. (noon) CDT

Northern Room, Ramkota Hotel, 1400 8th Avenue Northwest, Aberdeen, South Dakota

PUC links

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