Route changes for CO2 pipeline affecting new landowners, PUC extends deadline

Summit Carbon solutions changes route in South Dakota on the day landowners can apply for party...
Summit Carbon solutions changes route in South Dakota on the day landowners can apply for party status with Public Utilities Commission(summit carbon solutions)
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 6:03 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -The future of Carbon Dioxide Pipelines in South Dakota remains in the hands of the Public Utilities Commission as they review application information and hear from landowners.

376 landowners, counties, and towns have applied for party status with the P-U-C, allowing them to have more of a say in the application review process. To put that into perspective, that is nearly double the number of party status applicants for the Keystone Pipeline at the same point in the process.

According to a community organizer with Dakota Rural Action, Summit changed the route within hours of the deadline to apply for party status.

Chase Jensen says this gave the new landowners affected a short time to become aware of the changes and apply for party status. The route changes affect Lincoln, Minnehaha, Lake, Beadle, Edmonds, and McPherson Counties.

“Landowners don’t have a team of lawyers and 250 million dollars from investors, billions of dollars for the project to legally analyze all the loopholes to know and to play hardball the way that the company is,” says Chase Jensen, Community Organizer for Dakota Rural Action.

A spokesperson for Summit Carbon Solutions says the changes came about from the public comment at recent P-U-C information meetings held across the region.

“All those alternatives were put in the original application and everyone who was in a half-mile buffer of both the permitted route that was submitted in the application and these alternatives was notified. There was also a public notification in newspapers,” said Chris Hill, Summit Carbon Solutions Permitting Director.

Due to the changes, the P-U-C is open to extending the deadline for newly affected landowners to apply for party status until April 28th.

In the meantime, the Government Investigation report for one of the worst CO2 pipeline leaks in American history, in Satartia Mississippi has yet to be released, two years after the fact.

Spink county landowner Ed Fischbach organized a landowners group when he first heard about the CO2 pipeline plans last year. He comments on the route change, saying:

“We had surveyors here again Saturday, so I assume I’m still on the route. Have had no contact with Summit, but if the route was moved, I doubt they would be here surveying the right-of-way. No one believes Summit about moving the route, we believe it was an attempt to cause confusion and divide the overwhelming opposition since Summit tried to kick out several landowners who had filed for party status. Their tactic failed as the PUC reinstated all of the original landowners to party status.”

Summit Carbon Solutions is required to supply a study of a simulated leak, and how it would affect nearby areas before the commission makes its final decision in February 2023.

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