Pipeline moratorium considered by Minnehaha County Commission

CO2 pipeline moratorium under consideration by Minnehaha County Commission
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 11:57 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -In addition to recently serving in the State Legislature, Scyller Borglum’s long-time career has been as an engineer, first in the oil and gas industry, and now in underground storage.

“They used to pay me to get it out of the ground and now they pay me to put it back in the ground,” said Borglum.

This summer, Borglum will be the first speaker to kick off the Carbon Capture conference in the Twin Cities, sponsored by Summit Carbon Solutions, the lone CO2 pipeline applicant in South Dakota.

“Yes, I would have a CO2 pipeline in my backyard. They are among the safest pipelines in the country,” said Borglum.

While Borglum is enthusiastic about the future of the CO2 pipeline and storage industry, some of the Minnehaha County Commissioners want more time to review the details. Commissioner Jeff Barth said he was initially neutral on the idea until he talked to landowners.

“Basically, this is going to damage the land and endanger the people,” said Barth.

The Public Utilities Commission has the final jurisdiction to approve or deny the pipeline application. On Tuesday, May 17th, the Commission will talk about planning and zoning, which is in their authority with pipeline regulation.

“That’s what we’re looking at, doing a moratorium,” said Barth. “I think more study needs to happen, and certainly, they’ve changed the routes on them a couple of times.”

Safety and setbacks are concerning should there be a failure.

“The hazards from this type of pipeline are not clear, but the video I’ve seen of a drastic failure was shocking,” said Barth.

We asked Borglum to look into one of the worst CO2 pipeline leaks in U.S. History in Satartia, Mississippi.

“They had over 20 inches of rain in a sustained two-week period that caused the soil on the one side of the pipeline to shift down and move to the flatland,” said Borglum.

The South Dakota terrain and weather is one of the concerns of Commissioner Gerald Beninga. He believes the proposed pipe depth may not withstand our extreme weather, the setbacks should be further away from the pipeline, and that first responders need to receive training in case there’s a CO2 leak, with is an asphyxiant.

Borglum is concerned about what she thinks could be misinformation spread on social media.

“My hope is that people will look at the data and the safety of pipelines and the safety of pipelines over time, particularly with co2,” said Borglum.

Barth believes there could be other options, such as comparing the amount of CO2 an acre of corn removes from the atmosphere during a growing season.

“If it’s such a great project, why don’t they bury it between the Interstate in the median? Let’s run it right up there on I-29 and pass it off to North Dakota. But that’s not under consideration. Maybe the Feds think it’s too dangerous,” said Barth.

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