Fisk guest editorial 1-21-23


Federal government has cart before the horse
By Jamie Fisk
Tulare, S.D.

Under the last six U.S. presidents, research has been conducted because of global warming. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) capture and its removal from the atmosphere is one of the methods being looked at.

All sources of CO2 in the continental U.S. have been identified and maps were constructed of the entire continental U.S. where these source are located.

Long term rock formations across the entire Continental U.S. have also been identified, Mont., N.D., Wyo., Ariz., N.M., Texas, Okla., Kan., La., W.V., Ind., S.D. and Ill.

CO2 has been pumped down into this rock in Illinois for several years.

The George W. Bush administration spent $80 Billion for research and development of CO2 pipelines, with plans for 65,000 miles of pipeline carrying CO2 in the ground by 2050.

At present, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the government organization that oversees and writes regulations on pipelines, is researching and re-writing new regulations that will govern C02 pipelines in the future. They told me in a phone call that this could take at least 2 years to accomplish. (202-366-5523, pipeline side of the PHMSA).

The question then is: Why is the S.D. Public Utilities Commission (PUC) not postponing the siting of Navigator’s Pipeline and Summit Carbon Solution’s Pipeline until the federal government has the new guidelines for CO2 pipelines, considered a hazardous waste, in place? Both companies are exceeding current PHMSA guidelines. They often quote CF-195 that they are following, which are outdated laws that apply to oil and natural gas pipelines and are not specific to CO2.

The ethanol companies keep saying that they cannot stay viable without the markets in the states that will not buy ethanol because it has a carbon footprint.

If you check the financial records of these companies, you will find that they continue to make record profits. California is one of the states that will not buy ethanol; they plan to go completely electric with automobiles in the next few years.

The investors in these pipelines have their eyes set on the money that can be obtained with the 45Q Federal Tax Credit. It is all about greed that taxpayers will be forced to support and pay for.

Summit Carbon Solutions (SCS) has a 4-foot depth and a 50-foot setback, with an operating pressure of 2183 psi for the proposed pipeline.  

Landowners will be paid an easement of approximately for 3.03 acres per quarter mile. Many of these easements are blanket easements. Landowners need to have a lawyer evaluate the language before signing. In some cases one might be giving up property rights to that entire block of land.

Many county commissions erroneously think the SD-PUC will protect the counties and enforce reasonable depths and setbacks.

The PUC, however, in several meetings and phone conversations have made the statement: “It is up to the counties to write ordinances to address setback and depths.”

Most counties being crossed by these two pipelines have no ordinances in place. The S.D. Ag Dept. has no laws in place. So the State of S.D. has dropped the ball from the top down.

Several counties have passed moratoriums, the purpose which is to give the counties time to write and pass ordinances that will address depth and setbacks for the pipelines.

The county commissions, as elected officials, have a moral obligation to protect the citizens in the county. SCS has sued several counties because they passed moratoriums.

They then have the audacity to have their representative show up at county commission meetings; they talk about their pipeline during public comment time, explaining how great it will be, how many easements they have signed, and how much tax money will be available for the county.

At the Navigator PUC input meeting, the assemblage was asked the question: “Who would want to live by the pipeline?”

Not a single hand was raised, including the pipeline and ethanol industry representatives.