Landowners eight counties of South Dakota (Minnehaha, Lincoln, Lake, Beadle, Spink, Brown, Edmunds and McPherson) sued Carbon Solutions Summitone of two companies looking to build highly concentrated CO-2 pipelines (like the one shown above in a photo of Maria de Jesus published by the Houston Chronicle) across South Dakota, in an effort to prevent company agents from entering their land for surveying purposes without their permission.
They allege that the state law that permits this practice violates the Due Process Clause of the State and federal constitutions.
Summit is in a strong position to achieve its goals. Its proposed pipeline from Iowa to North Dakota would sequester 12 billion metric tons of CO-2 annually, earning a federal income tax credit of more than $1 billion. This pot was just sweetened by a provision that Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) added to the Reducing Inflation Act which increases the credit for each sequestered metric ton from $50 to $85. Summit can also get a federal tax credit of $35 per metric ton used in fracking, to recover additional oil from largely depleted oil fields in North Dakota’s Bakken formation.
CEO of Summit, Bruce Rasseter, is the largest individual donor to Republicans in Iowa and is very close to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, as well as Tom Vilsack, a former Democratic governor who returned to Secretary of Agriculture in the Biden administration, post which he also held during Obama. administration. Rasseter, South Dakota’s corporate lobbyist, former lawmaker Dan Lederman, is also the leader of the South Dakota Republican Party. Summit has brought in big foreign investment, from Saudi Arabia, South Korea and other countries, and Rastetter is used to doing whatever it wants.
Poet, which is the largest producer of ethanol in the world, is work with browser, which is the other company looking to build a CO-2 pipeline through our state, and its five ethanol plants in South Dakota are set to join that pipeline route. Ethanol industry titans clearly believe they’ve struck gold, finding a way to shape ethanol as a “greener” fuel and rake in the tax code for billions of dollars of profits.
Ed Fischbach of Mellette is one of the South Dakota farmers whose earth is in the path of Summit’s CO-2 pipeline, and he fights back. Safety is a big concern, as CO-2 in concentrated form is very lethal and is used by packing houses to euthanize livestock.
“It is not a safe product. If it leaks, it could kill all of our livestock, or even kill people, if they come within half a mile of the leak,” Fischbach said in an interview for this column.
He doesn’t like Summit’s ‘threat and intimidation’ tactics as they warned farmers in their path that they would come, ‘the easy way or the hard way’, but they can’t. be arrested.
As expected, the pipeline would cross quarter sections diagonally, disregarding section lines, and disrupt well-established agricultural operations. Fischbach and other farmers are also unhappy with the notion of eminent domain for private corporations, as opposed to a public purpose like a highway. “No eminent domain for private gain” became their rallying cry.
Dakota Rural Action, a well-established organization of South Dakotans that has often fought for the rights of farmers and ranchers, hopes to reform South Dakota’s eminent domain statutes in next year’s legislative session. In this effort, DRA will come head-to-head with Lederman and other veteran influence peddlers.
In the meantime, State Rep. Jamie Smith, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, and Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth, who is running for a seat on the Public Utilities Commission, have reached out to the aggrieved farmers and expressed their sympathy for their opposition to the project. CO-2 lines.
South Dakota has a long history of battles over natural resource issues, from the Oahe irrigation project to uranium mining and a nuclear waste dump project, to leach mining. in heaps for gold in the Black Hills. The CO-2 pipeline that threatens the property rights, and possibly the lives, of rural landowners in eastern South Dakota, is yet another epic struggle.
Jay Davis is a retired attorney from Rapid City