On Monday, the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission denied a permit for a controversial carbon capture pipeline in the state. Summit Carbon Solutions (SCS) had filed dozens of eminent domain lawsuits against South Dakota landowners to seize properties that had been in their families for generations.
The carbon technology captures carbon dioxide pollution from ethanol plants, power plants and steel factories, and stores it deep underground. The $5.5 billion Midwest Carbon Express pipeline would have extract carbon from ethanol plants in Iowa and stored it underground in North Dakota.
The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law by Joe Biden last year, massively expanded tax credits for the potentially dangerous carbon capture projects. Last week, Navigator Heartland Greenway, a carbon capture company based in Nebraska, saw its own permit request be denied after weeks of hearings.
As American Greatness reported earlier this year, SCS went to court to seize the property rights of more than 80 South Dakota landowners because their land was in the path of the company’s planned 2,000-mile carbon capture pipeline. According to some accounts, surveyors from the company trespassed on the properties and intimidated the farmers with armed security guards.
This is an image that was shared with @RepJonHansen from one of the South Dakota landowners in McPherson County facing an eminent domain lawsuit from Summit Carbon Solutions to build a carbon capture pipeline on their property for ethanol plants in Iowa.
It shows an armed… pic.twitter.com/cMAA9wNXDq
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) June 6, 2023
Keloland reported that the state commission’s denial of the SCS pipeline was one of its first decisions Monday morning in Fort Pierre at the Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center.
The lead staff attorney for the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission formally requested Friday that the commission deny the application from SCS Carbon Solutions for a state permit for a proposed carbon-dioxide pipeline.
Commissioner Gary Hanson of Sioux Falls served as the chair for this specific hearing. The governor appointed state Treasurer Joshua Haeder to replace commission chair Kristie Fiegen on this docket. Fiegen had recused herself because of a conflict of interest.
The motion to deny was unanimously passed 3-0.
“It is my estimation after listening to the testimony today that Summit Carbon cannot demonstrate at this time or in the near future that they have the ability to route the pipeline as proposed,” Haeder said. “Without … preemption, you’ve made crystal clear in your prefiled testimony that various county ordinances make this an impossible project at this time.”
Conservative influencer Greg Price shared the good news on X and noted that the farmers prevailed despite the GOP heavy hitters SCS had in its corner.
Summit also has massive political connections in the ethanol industry, such as former Iowa Gov. Terry Barnstad who is their senior adviser. They also were a platinum sponsor of Kristi Noem’s inauguration. They used these to stop South Dakota’s government from passing multiple bills to stop eminent domain.
VICTORY: The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission just unanimously DENIED a permit to Summit Carbon Solutions for their carbon capture pipeline.
Summit filed over 80 eminent domain lawsuits against South Dakota landowners, much of which had been in the families of them for… pic.twitter.com/uLgBXEfs3O
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) September 11, 2023
While the denial decision is a major setback to the project, it is not the end. Summit Carbon can reapply for a permit if it still intends to build its pipeline in South Dakota, “essentially restarting their application process at square-one,” according to the Argus Leader.
As their constituents faced eminent domain lawsuits, many key South Dakota Republicans were accused putting the agendas of lobbyists and donors above the property rights of their constituents.
In an interview in June, Jared Bossly, one of the landowners facing the loss of his property, said that he spoke to Gov. Noem about his situation and her response was “it’s out of my hands … am I supposed to fight all your battles?”
Noem on Friday endorsed former President Trump in the 2024 Republican presidential primary at a campaign rally in Rapid City, drawing speculation that Trump is considering her as his running mate.