Summit Carbon Solutions surveyors damage farmer’s crops

Published: Jun. 21, 2023 at 5:48 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A recent ruling made by a Brown County judge allows Summit Carbon Solutions to survey private land without permission from landowners, but one farmer was left with damaged crops after survey work took place on his property.

Jared Bossly wasn’t home when the surveyors arrived on Tuesday, but his kids quickly called to let him know they were there.

Bossly is very familiar with Summit Carbon Solutions, which plans to construct a carbon sequestration pipeline through multiple states, including South Dakota. Bossly has been open about his opposition to the pipeline project and its potential use of eminent domain.

Last month, Bossly found himself in court with Summit after they filed for a restraining order against him. Summit claims Bossly threatened their surveyors after catching them on video entering his shop, but Bossly said he never spoke to the surveyors. Ultimately, Judge Richard Sommers cleared Bossly of being in contempt of court, but Bossly was ordered to stay 100 yards away from Summit surveyors.

So, when Bossly arrived home to see drills in his fields, he couldn’t do anything about it. Other landowners in the area who are also opposed to the pipeline showed up to document what was happening.

“I could not be around any of the drill rigs when it was going on. I had to stay 100 yards away, but I had plenty of other people there that were filming and taking pictures,” said Bossly.

According to Summit, the survey work is called geotechnical drilling, and it is used to gather information about soil layers. Two holes were dug in Bossly’s fields. Soybean and corn crops were damaged by the survey vehicles that entered the property.

”Both of these holes are 90 feet deep in my cornfield, on the other side. Wherever they drove over crops, those are for sure damaged,” said Bossly.

No warning about the survey work was given to Bossly.

”There’s just no courtesy at all saying they were coming with this. I don’t know if this is normal surveying. I’m not sure what they’re looking for up here,” said Bossly.

Bossly said he’s never seen this type of survey work around his property before, and he thinks his opposition to the pipeline project might be a factor.

”I’ve heard of one other place where they had a drill rig in McPherson County. I definitely feel targeted just because I’ve been trying to stand up for what is right and to save my family farm and give the fifth generation a chance to farm and expand the cow herd. What they’re going to do is going to prevent a lot of those things from happening,” said Bossly.

Social media posts with images of the drilling were posted online, and some are calling on Governor Kristi Noem to step in.

”This thing yesterday really set a ball in motion. It really struck a nerve with people. Now that they’re curious about it, and the more they learn, they’re starting to get very upset. They’re upset with the governor, just upset with a lot of things,” said Bossly.

When asked about the surveying done on Bossly’s land, Summit Carbon Solutions gave the following statement to Dakota News Now:

Summit Carbon Solutions is working with TRC and Terracon to perform important surveys in Brown County to move forward with the final design around the South Fork Moccasin Creek. This includes marking drill spots, testing soil, and studying the land around the water. These steps are crucial for our work, giving us information about soil layers and helping us plan the drilling process to reduce risk. The data we collect will guide our decisions on the drill depth and other key aspects. The Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Summit staff, and hired security were present during this survey. Our goal is strong infrastructure built with careful planning. As we progress, we stay focused on growing economically, protecting the environment, and acting responsibly.

John Satterfield, Summit Carbon Solutions Director of Regulatory Affairs

According to information provided by Summit, they claim they will repair or provide payment for any damages that occur while surveying, but Bossly said they haven’t reached out to him regarding his property yet.

”It’s just a slap in the face because they know that that’s how we make our livelihood is this land. They really don’t care if they’re out there wrecking it. It’s just part of their big, overall plan to come through with the pipeline anyway,” said Bossly.