CO2 Pipeline moratorium effort fails in Minnehaha County

Minnehaha County Commission decides to forgo pipeline moratorium
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 9:35 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A full Minnehaha county commission room included landowners concerned about Summit carbon solution’s CO2 pipeline and those who believe it could help reduce the state’s carbon footprint.

Commissioner Dean Karsky and others say they sympathize with landowners who don’t want their land in the path of a proposed pipeline.

“You shouldn’t be able to take something from mine that belongs to me. I get all that, but I mean, we also talk a lot about CO2 in general and how bad it is for our environment.”

Chair Cindy Heiberger believes it’s too early to consider a pipeline moratorium.

“It’s basically wasting you guys’s time coming back and forth and back and forth and back and forth having these discussions until we have gathered all the information,” said Heiberger.

Landowners appeared to be surprised that they would not be allowed to approach the podium to voice their concerns. One attendee tried to speak up anyway.

“Mr. Meyer, if you cannot respect the rules of the commission, you’ll have to walk out. Back to the discussion of the temporary zoning ordinance,” said Heiberger. The man walked out.

Karsky didn’t rule out a moratorium in the future.

“We get a one shot, and if we don’t get it right and do the timing right and have a good reason for it, it’s null and void,” said Karsky.

The issue of authority was also brought into question by the Commission.

“I think it’s a disservice for us to let people believe that we have any real authority to affect safety issues in this area,” said Bender.

In May, Dakota News Now contacted PUC commissioner Chris Nelson about the county’s authority and asked: “Is it true that a county commission still has planning and zoning authority over a CO2 pipeline?” His response: “There is nothing in our process which would inhibit county planning and zoning,” said Nelson.

Frustrated landowners gathered in the hallway after the meeting, including Orrin Geide.

“Trying to get the county commissioners to place some setbacks, some depth control in the pipeline. If we lose this battle, they’re just gonna come in and do what they want,” said Geide.

Commissioner Jeff Barth, who is running for PUC commissioner, noted the concerns he’s heard from landowners regarding the Chair of the Republican party, Dan Lederman, also being on the payroll for Saudi Arabia and Summit Carbon Solutions.

“I see that Dan Lederman is here, who is a top lobbyist for the Summit Pipeline people. He’s wearing their shirt emblazoned with Summit Pipeline Solutions. Dan, how much are they paying you to do that?

After a moment where no one spoke, Karsky interjected, “I think that’s out of order, Madam Chair.”

Heiber responded, “I do too,” while she suggested Barth ask the question directly to Lederman after the meeting had concluded.

We asked Dan Lederman after the meeting how he can work equitably between the South Dakota Republican party, Saudi Arabia, and Summit Carbon solutions. He had no comment.

Summit Carbon solutions provided the following statement from Director of Public Affairs Jesse Harris:

“Summit Carbon Solutions is proud to have a talented, bipartisan team working every day to open new economic opportunities for ethanol producers and strengthen the agricultural marketplace for farmers. Similar to virtually every project of this size and complexity, some of our team members are contractors who represent multiple clients.

To date, the company has partnered with 1,400 landowners to sign 2,200 voluntary easements, with more agreements being secured every day. This significant level of progress is being made because the company’s multi-billion-dollar infrastructure investment will open new economic opportunities for ethanol producers, strengthen the agricultural marketplace for corn growers, and generate tens of millions of dollars in new property tax revenues that will help local communities support critical priorities. We look forward to continuing to advance our project in the weeks and months to come.”

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