PUC denies Summit Carbon’s application
FORT PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission met in Fort Pierre Monday morning for a hearing regarding Summit Carbon Solutions.
The first item at hand was whether the hearings would move forward, based on several things that happened on Friday.
The PUC did not comply with Navigator Pipeline’s request to override the county’s setback ordinances. Navigator’s permit was ultimately denied. Summit then requested to withdraw their request to override the counties on their application, too.
The PUC staff attorney then filed to deny the Summit Carbon Solutions application based on what the PUC says is Summit’s own testimony that they can’t build the CO2 pipeline without overriding those county setbacks.
Summit quotes 72% voluntary easements & approximately 160 lawsuits filed against landowners who have not signed easements. PUC’s Gary Hanson asked a Summit attorney how many landowners signed out of intimidation. The attorney says he can’t speculate.
Hanson asked how the three-week hearing could continue if it is already known that the Summit Carbon Solutions CO2 pipeline route can’t comply. The SCS attorney asked for five minutes to discuss with the client.
Brown County’s setbacks are the largest at 1,500 feet. Minnehaha County’s setback is 300 feet. Previous testimony was read from SCS saying the routes are not possible without overriding the counties with both of these setbacks.
“My client’s wish” is to delay proceedings and return later rather than deny the permit, said a SCS attorney.
Commissioner Josh Hader said, “I would like to make a motion to deny the application.”
PUC Chris Nelson’s motion: rather than deny, remove the Nov. 15 deadline and delay indefinitely. “I’m willing to give them the opportunity to work with counties and landowners to see if they can cure these issues. I’m willing to give them the time.”
Hanson desired to deny the application. “We need a clean process here,” Hanson said. There were talks of SCS not being ready. “They need to simply get their order of all their things accomplished and then say, ‘Now we’re ready to go through the process.’”
Motion vote to delay and not deny application: Nelson voted aye, Hader voted no and Hanson voted no.
Vote on Hader’s motion to deny Summit Carbon Solutions application: Hanson voted yes, Hader voted yes and Nelson voted yes.
Dakota Rural Action responds to decision
“We are so grateful to the PUC commissioners for standing up for their constituents! They made the right decision for the future of South Dakota. We are also thankful to them for upholding our county ordinances!” said Joy Hohn, a Dakota Rural Action member leader and impacted landowner from Minnehaha County.
Nonprofit organization Dakota Rural Action made the following statement in response to Monday’s vote:
“This is a great day for people over big money. Thankfully our commissioners and staff followed the law and denied Summit’s permit. It is a great day for the people of South Dakota!” said Ed Fischbach, an impacted landowner and Dakota Rural Action board member from Spink County.
Summit Carbon Solutions reacts
Summit Carbon made the following statement in response to Monday’s decision:
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