Government report on CO2 pipeline leak in Mississippi could affect South Dakota Pipelines

A government report from the February 2020 leak indicates further safety protocols and...
A government report from the February 2020 leak indicates further safety protocols and geohazard surveillance rules be enacted.(Dakota news now)
Published: Jun. 11, 2022 at 9:31 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -While the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission continues to review the application for the state’s first CO2 pipeline, a Government report about a life-threatening leak elsewhere in the Country could affect pipelines planned for our state.

Landowners are asking many questions about CO2 pipelines in light of a new report documenting a leak in Satartia, Mississippi, which provides crucial information to prevent a disaster like that here at home hopefully.

The February 2020 leak has been investigated by The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration, or PHMSA, a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Attorney Brian Jorde, who represents a group of South Dakota Landowners through his firm at Domina Law Group, is especially concerned about the lack of history and experience our nation has with CO2 pipelines.

“It’s such a new technology and concept and never been done at the scale currently contemplated across South Dakota and the Midwest, and laws, rules, regulations are simply way behind,” said Jorde.

The Government report reveals a need for more regulations and safety protocols. Summit Carbon Solutions Senior Project Advisor Chris hill has combed through the details.

“This investigative report primarily focused on emergency preparedness and response and geohazards,” said Hill. “So, where landslides could occur or worse, where significant erosion could take place around a river and so that’s what that advisory bulletin does, is it.

Geohazard bulletin, which PHMSA would enact, would require additional monitoring by the pipeline company, something that didn’t happen in the Mississippi leak.

That’s where the report involves South Dakota landowners, their livestock, and property. No one wants a leak like the one in Mississippi, which robbed people, animals, and even vehicles of oxygen.

“There were no fatalities, and there were no injuries,” said Hill.

Reporter Beth Warden asks about the reports of people foaming at the mouth incoherent. “Is that not considered an injury?” asked Warden.

“There was no one hospitalized overnight,” said Hill. “And so someone going to the hospital just to get checked out is apparently not classified as an injury.”

Proponents of the CO2 Pipeline say the 8 to 24-inch line in South Dakota will be good for the environment as it captures CO2 from ethanol plants in the area rather than releasing CO2 into the atmosphere.

Opponents, however, say the uncertain risk of an asphyxiant leak, coupled with the potential of eminent domain to a for-profit company, is not worth their personal potential of loss.

“I respect their right to make hundreds of millions of dollars and make their owners richer than they already are. But doing this on the backs of hardworking South Dakotans and elsewhere there requires a high level of scrutiny,” said Jorde.

His phone continues to ring with calls from South Dakotans.

“Fortunately, the notice requirements are pretty weak in South Dakota, and people are still kind of hearing about it and concern, and so we’re talking to folks every day,” said Jorde.

The South Dakota PUC continues to review the application for Summit Carbon Solutions, which requested their application review be lengthened from a deadline of early spring to June of 2023.

On May 8th, Jorde requested Summit’s application be thrown out, but that was denied.

Summit hopes to have its pipeline operational by 2024.

Another company intending to apply with the PUC for their CO2 pipeline is also talking to landowners. Navigator CO2′s Heartland Greenway pipeline project has just announced its partnership with POET ethanol plants to capture, transport, and store CO2.

Our staff has requested an interview in the past months with POET regarding CO2 created from their plants. We were told that POET uses their CO2 for making dry ice and carbonating beverages but were denied an interview.

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