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South Dakota Farmers Union Applauds PUC’s action, Calls for Additional Protections

HURON, S. D. – September 5 the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) rejected Navigator CO2’s application for a permit to construct the Heartland Greenway carbon capture pipeline.

The company’s request sought to disregard county pipeline setback ordinances. The PUC’s unanimous decision pointed to the company’s lack of transparency in disclosing carbon dioxide plume modeling and untimely notices to landowners. The project’s intended stretch of 110 miles would have traversed eastern South Dakota including the counties of Brookings, Moody, Minnehaha, Lincoln and Turner. Similar actions have been issued in North Dakota against the foreign backed private company Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline. The PUC will make a decision regarding Summit Pipelines permit at a hearing scheduled for Monday, September 11.

During the 2023 Legislative Session, South Dakota Farmers Union joined with others to support HB1133. The House Bill would have protected landowners by excluding carbon dioxide as a common carrier commodity. Unlike electricity, water or natural gas transported via pipelines, transporting highly pressured CO2 only benefits two private investor groups in pursuit of federal tax incentives. The majority of state legislators did not support landowners and the bill failed. If the bill had passed the Senate, CO2 would not qualify for “eminent domain,” which is a legal process to gain access to land from unwilling landowners.

The South Dakota Farmers Union, once again, calls on state legislators and our Congressional leaders to clarify and strengthen protections for family farmers and their land rights:

Doug Sombke, president, South Dakota Farmers Union

“The decision by the Public Utilities Commission is a win for local control and serves as a clear reminder that more must be done to secure property rights for landowners. As it is, South Dakota’s communities have limited control over the project’s planning. We need legislative champions to step forward and lead the charge in putting South Dakotans first. Legislation that includes definitions under Chapter 49 in South Dakota Codified law dealing with Public Utilities Commissions jurisdiction would be a firm step in that direction. No one denies ethanol’s benefits. Just do the right thing. Treat landowners with respect and their rights to their land.”

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