CO2 pipeline company desires 100 percent voluntary easements, landowners say it won’t happen

CO2 pipeline applicant desires voluntary easements, landowners say it won't happen
Published: Mar. 27, 2022 at 9:15 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -It’s been a full week of PUC meetings across the eastern part of the state with landowners. The discussion is South Dakota’s first application for a CO2 pipeline.

“I appreciate just the level of engagement and investment from the citizens and from the landowners in this process,” said Chris Hill of Summit Carbon Solutions.

He hopes for one hundred percent voluntary easements, but that’s not going to happen according to Spink county resident Ed Fischbach, who is not engaging in conversation.

“I refuse easements when they come around on easements. I have not let them on my land at all,” said Fischbach.

He has safety concerns for his family, community, and livestock. The idea of the risk he would take for a company’s gain is unsettling.

“We are dealing with a private, for-profit company who if they get a permit from our PUC, and the PUC rules that it’s in the public interest. They can use eminent domain and basically condemn our land and take it for their own personal use. I think that’s wrong,” said Fischbach.

With each PUC meeting, the question is asked, if there’s a leak of CO2, which displaces oxygen, how big would the plume be? A dispersion analysis is in the works.

“We’re going to do it and it will be available well before the evidentiary hearings that will take place as part of the South Dakota PUC process,” said Hill.

One area of confusion is how much time you can provide your comments for the PUC to review. Although there is a deadline for legal entities to get involved until April 8th, there is no deadline for public comments. The PUC is required to announce its final decision on February 6th of 2023.

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