SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — For now, McPherson County does not want any pipeline carrying hazardous material to be built in the county.

Sid Feickert, a county commissioner, said the county’s planning and zoning board and county commission board in January both approved a moratorium on pipelines carrying hazardous material. While Feickert said that would include oil and other materials, the moratorium was passed as a developer plans to build a carbon dioxide pipeline in the county.

Summit Carbon Solutions of Iowa has proposed a CO2 pipeline of about 2,000 miles of which about 469 miles that will travel through South Dakota including McPherson County. A second developer, Navigator, will also have portion of its proposed CO2 pipeline in South Dakota.

Iowa and southern Minnesota will also have miles of CO2 pipeline in their states.

“There is zero support locally that we can see,” Feickert said of the Summit proposed pipeline. The county established the moratorium after about 50 people in opposition turned up at a January county board meeting.

“The phone has been ringing off the hook (with opposition to the pipeline),” Feickert said. “It’s a really hot topic.”

The county board passed the moratorium as way to “slow up the pipeline,” Feickert said.

Jim Pirolli, the chief commercial officer of Summit Carbon Solutions, said on Jan. 31 that Summit planned to apply for a permit in South Dakota soon.

It had applied in January to the state of Iowa.

Commissioner’s view differs from legislator’s

“I believe it’s the most dangerous pipeline out there,” Feickert said of a CO2 pipeline. He is worried that if it leaks it will cause significant harm to people and animals.

Rep. Charlie Hoffman, R-Eureka, is a supporter of the Summit proposed pipeline. The pipeline will benefit farmers and ethanol plants, Hoffman said.

The Summit and Navigator plans would capture CO2 at sites, including ethanol plants, remove water and then, transport the CO2 to permanent burial sites or sequestered sites, representatives of both developers said. Summit would bury CO2 in North Dakota. Navigator would bury CO2 in Illinois.

The CO2 produced at ethanol plants goes into the air now.

Captured and buried CO2 means that ethanol plants would reduce their carbon output and make ethanol a more attractive option in carbon low states such as California and Washington. Ethanol plants could charge more for ethanol in those states.

Developers and investors also benefit from federal tax incentives through CO2 capture.

“I’ve had a high pressure natural gas line through the middle of my (land) since the 1990s,” Hoffman said. “I’ve had zero problems with it.”

CO2 is classified as a hazardous material which is similar to other material that is already transported in pipelines.

But CO2 differs from natural gas, for example, because it needs higher pressure line.

The material in a natural gas pipeline is transported in pipelines that are roughly six to 48 inches in diameter at a pound per square inch of 200 to 1,500 PSI.

CO2 is transported in pipelines from about 1,300 to 2,100 PSI. Also water is a material that can be contained in CO2.

Research states that CO2 pipelines can corrode and as much water as possible needs to be removed.

“If you hit a high pressure natural gas line with a piece of equipment, you get a fireball that can go 300 to 400 yards,” Hoffman said.

If a piece of farm equipment hits a CO2 line, a farmer is able to back away and call 911, Hoffman said.

Feickert said leaked CO2 can hang like a cloud in low-lying areas and it can be harmful, even lethal.

Critics often cite the CO2 leak in Sataria, Mississippi, in February of 2020. Yazoo County Emergency Management said at least 46 were checked at the hospital and 300 people were evacuated because of the leak. The pipe contained Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), according to Yazoo County Emergency Management.

Elizabeth Burns-Thompson of Navigator said in a Jan. 17 KELOLAND News story said investigations so far have shown record rainfall caused a mudslide near Satartia. Also, Navigator is looking at a pipe that has the ability to bend before it breaks, which is different from the Mississippi pipeline.

The presence of other material in the CO2 pipeline in Mississippi also points out the need for the material in the Navigator pipeline to be as pure as possible, which is the reason for the 98% pure minimum standard, Burns-Thompson said.

Hoffman said describing CO2 as a deathly gas is fear-mongering.

Pirolli said Summit’s planned pipeline is safe with details including the depth of burial of the pipeline to address concerns that have already been raised or may be raised in the future.

The Summit pipeline had originally gone through Hoffman’s property but has since been switched.

Hoffman said the change did not result in his support. He supports the Summit pipeline because of the benefits to the economy. He sits on the House Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, so if he didn’t support a plan that would benefit to farmers and ranchers, “it would be a dereliction of my duty.”

Feickert said McPherson County officials and concerned landowners are learning “as we are going. This is all new to people.”

A meeting organized by those concerned and/or in opposition to the proposed Summit pipeline has been set for 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 2, at the 4-H building on the fairgrounds in Redfield.

When Summit Carbon Solutions applies for a permit in South Dakota, the “PUC will hold a
public input meeting or meetings on a pipeline siting case, with 30 days notice, as physically close as
practical to the proposed route. At the meeting, the applicant describes its project and the public may ask
questions and offer comment. Commissioners and staff attend this public meeting,” according to the PUC.

The public can also comment on proposed pipelines that must meet specific guidelines.