Landowners from eight counties file complaints against Summit Carbon Solutions

Landowners in McPherson County filed a complaint against Summit Carbon Solutions in June, and now, landowners in seven additional counties have followed suit.
Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 3:24 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Landowners in McPherson County filed a complaint against Summit Carbon Solutions in June, and now, landowners in seven additional counties have followed suit.

The complaints from landowners state that they believe Summit Carbon Solutions’ surveyors for the carbon dioxide pipeline project coming onto their land without consent or compensation is unconstitutional.

The pipeline will run through 18 counties in South Dakota. The purpose is to capture carbon dioxide from ethanol plants and sequester it underground in North Dakota. This will help reduce the carbon emission footprints of the plants.

The landowners are from Minnehaha, Lincoln, Lake, Edmunds, Spink, Brown and Beadle County, as well as McPherson. They are all represented by Brian Jorde, an attorney with Domina Law Group in Omaha, Nebraska.

According to Jorde, all landowners are grouped together under a complaint in their respective county.

Brown County landowner, Jared Bossly, says he joined the complaint because he doesn’t want the pipeline on his land.

”I have joined it for Brown here, and that’s just the same way to try and keep them off. What they’re doing, you know, we don’t want it,” said Bossly.

Bossly is opposed to the project entirely, but says he’s concerned with with what the damage both the pipeline and surveyors could do to his property.

“The topsoil around here is a foot deep at best. You start to move that, mix everything in, nothing will grow in that spot ever again. That’s why we don’t want this,” said Bossly.

Bossly says he’s seen the survey work done by Summit Carbon Solutions near his farm, and is concerned about compensation for damages.

”The biggest thing I’ve had with surveyors is probably when they cut a hole in the county road over here.”

Summit Carbon Solutions says this kind of survey work is necessary, and the company is prepared to compensate for damages.

“We will compensate the landowners. We have a $1 million bond in place to show that we’re willing and able to recompense landowners for any sort of incidental damages that might be caused,” said John Satterfield, Summit Carbon Solutions Director of Regulatory Affairs.

Satterfield says the surveyors must have access to the landowner’s property to determine the best route for the pipeline and avoid any environmentally or culturally sensitive areas.

”We have to gather information on the ground so that we can make sure and identify the best route for the pipeline. To do that, we actually have to physically be there. There’s only so much we can get from satellite imagery. There’s only so much we can get from drones and whatnot,” said Satterfield.

A South Dakota law states that surveyors can go onto private land as long as a 30-day notice is given. In response to the complaints from landowners, Summit Carbon Solutions has filed for a declaratory judgement so that landowners can’t turn Summit’s surveyors away.

”The lawsuit was filed against us, and so we are in the process of responding to that so that we can get access to those folks’ property to do the survey work,” said Satterfield.

Bossly says he’s not against pipelines, but he is against eminent domain being granted to private companies.

“People understand there’s needs for pipelines and needs for eminent domain, but it’s for public utilities, roads, waterlines, even oil pipelines. This is strictly for private gain,” said Bossly.

Bossly says that by filing the complaint, he hopes that surveying and eminent domain laws change in South Dakota.

“I am not for it. I don’t know of anybody that’s been at these meetings for it. The people have kind of spoken and it’s time for all our government officials to do what the people want,” said Bossly.

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