SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Two South Dakota counties took opposite actions related to proposed carbon dioxide pipelines this month.

Brown County passed on July 19 a moratorium on hazardous materials pipelines in the county which will allow it to determine if existing ordinances are adequate to cover hazardous materials including CO2 pipelines, said county commissioner board chairman Duane Sutton. The moratorium is in place for a year or sooner, if the county passes a new pipeline ordinance or determines existing ordinances cover them, Sutton said.

In a July 11 letter to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, the Hand County Commissioners said it had abandoned “Hand County’s Moratorium” on hazardous materials pipelines.” A copy of the Hand County letter is posted on the PUC website.

Summit Carbon Solutions has proposed a CO2 pipeline that will gather CO2 at participating ethanol plants and sites and it will be transported through several states including South Dakota for burial in North Dakota. It has applied for a permit from the PUC. The PUC granted Summit Carbon an indefinite extension of the required one year for the PUC to act on the permit application.

“Over the last few weeks, it seems like every week we have concerned county residents talking to (us) or businesses reasonably close to the (proposed Summit Carbon) pipeline,” Sutton said. “People are concerned about the safety if there is an accident. They are concerned about land values if an easement is across the land, how will that effect the value of the property. But safety is the big concern.”

The July 11 Hand County letter cites the July 5 county board meeting in which during an open forum on the proposed Summit Carbon Solutions CO2 pipeline, the board passed resolutions to abandon a moratorium and to request from the PUC removed as intervenor in the CO2 pipeline process.

The minutes from the July 5 meeting had not yet been posted on the county website as of July 20.

The July 11 letter said “The commission wanted it made note of the minutes that these two actions of the board do not translate into support of the project nor resistance to the project. It was states that the role of the intervenor is causing more cost than benefit.”

An intervenor or party status role, means that the party has the ability to see all documents and information the PUC sees.

Brown County has party status. “Any information the PUC gets, we get,” Sutton said. That allows the county to closely follow the process, Sutton said.

A party status holder or intervenor can also submit evidence or information during the PUC process.

Now that Brown County has a moratorium related to CO2 pipelines, the county’s planning and zoning commission will review existing ordinances, Sutton said.

Any recommendations for changes or a new ordinance would be considered by the planning and zoning board, Sutton said. The board would then recommend any action to the county board.