Battle shaping up between opposing landowners and supporters over CO2 pipeline in South Dakota

Beth Warden, Dakota News NowJanuary 10, 2023Agriculture News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.  – Last week’s decision to schedule a hearing for Summit Carbon Solutions was a relief for landowners. However, this is only a part of the journey. Both landowners and Summit have many steps to take before the Public Utilities Commission makes a final decision.

Valley Springs landowner Rick Bonander is glad the PUC scheduled the Summit Carbon Solutions hearing for September. He says a springtime meeting during planting and calving season would create a conflict of interest in attending the hearing.

Midwestern landowners opposing CO2 pipelines often rely on attorney Brian Jorde, who believes Summit’s request for a springtime hearing was by design to keep farmers from participating. He also says there still are South Dakotans unaware a pipeline could be on or near their land.

“There are approximately 100 persons who are within a half mile of their proposed route, and we’ve got a motion to dismiss their entire application or motion to return on that basis,” said Jorde.

As more details of the pipeline are revealed, his client list grows.

“I’m involved in proximately 70 or so related to claims they have against landowners. It’s probably more, I frankly lost count,” said Jorde. “And then, of course, they’re suing any county and the commissioners if they don’t like what they’re doing in an intimidation to try to make other counties not take action.”

The hearing Dates for The Summit Carbon Solutions hearing are September 11th to the 22nd. The city and venue are still under consideration, as a large facility is needed to accommodate the many interested parties.

Recently, at Governor Noem’s inauguration ceremony, it didn’t go unnoticed by attendees opposing the pipeline, that Summit was included in the program as one of the five platinum sponsors of the event.

“Well, money in politics, you know, money, money gets you votes. Money gets you laws. I don’t think anyone should think otherwise,” said Jorde. “Summit has endless foreign money from their foreign owners and New York hedge funds and whoever else, so they’re throwing it around and trying to get people to check their common sense at the door, and hopefully, that doesn’t work.”

Summit Carbon Solutions was the first to apply for a CO2 pipeline in South Dakota and was later joined by Navigator.

As the legislative session begins, legislators are being approached by those on both sides of the issue. District 23 Representative Senator Bryan Breitling of Aberdeen is making his opinion known. “I am on the side of landowners and landowner’s rights. I am part of the legislator coalition sponsoring and voting for pipeline reform,”

More information on the progress of the applications is available on the PUC website:

puc.sd.gov/Dockets/HydrocarbonPipeline/2022/HP22-001.aspx

puc.sd.gov/Dockets/HydrocarbonPipeline/2022/HP22-002.aspx