Brian Bengs criticizes use of eminent domain for carbon dioxide pipeline in South Dakota

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 3:15 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2022 at 3:16 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Brian Bengs, U.S. senate candidate for South Dakota, released the following statement in response to the proposed Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline that would stretch approximately 469 miles across South Dakota.

Multiple landowners in eight South Dakota counties have filed lawsuits against Summit Carbon Solutions due to health and safety concerns. Undetected pipeline leaks pose a potentially fatal asphyxiation risk for humans, livestock, and wildlife over a large area. Concentrated CO2 also disables vehicles by starving internal combustion engines of the oxygen necessary to burn fuel.

“I strongly support the ethanol industry, but I fundamentally disagree with the Kelo decision, which simply provides another way for the wealthy and powerful to enrich themselves by using governmental power against regular folks,” said Bengs. “The use of eminent domain for private gain is wrong, especially when it involves ignoring the legitimate health and safety concerns of landowners whose lives—and livelihoods—are at stake.”

Summit Carbon Solutions is an Iowa corporation with a proposed project to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from Midwestern ethanol biorefineries and liquefy it under high pressure and temperature for underground transportation across South Dakota. Summit’s proposed pipeline route requires a perpetual easement from many private landowners. Purchase negotiations are ongoing, according to a press release from Brian Bengs, but if voluntary sales are not possible, the company will pursue forced sales through the state government’s power of eminent domain.

In the highly controversial 2005 decision Kelo vs. City of New London, Connecticut, the U.S. Supreme Court declared use of a state’s eminent domain power to take private property and transfer it to another private entity a valid “public use” if it results in “expected public benefits.” Bengs believes that the maximum use of public property and existing public right-of-way easements for projects like this is the best approach. If elected, Bengs is committed to sponsoring legislation to disqualify carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects that use eminent domain to secure private property easements amounting to more than 10% of the total project length within a single state.