SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — An “unprecedented” number of applications for party status have been approved for the docket on the proposed carbon dioxide (CO2) line that will travel through the state, said Chris Nelson of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed carbon dioxide (CO2) line will travel about 469 miles through South Dakota. The company filed its application in February to install an underground pipeline in the state.

“If you are designated party status that means you are on equal legal footing with the project applicant and PUC staff…,” Nelson said.

Those with party status, or intervenors, must “fully participate in the rest of the proceedings,” Nelson said. That includes asking for discovery reports as well sending discovery from those who request it, he said.

Those with party status can also file pre-trial testimony, put witnesses on the stand or cross-examine witnesses, Nelson said.

The commission approved 340 applicants on April 14. Another 30 received approval Thursday. The commission’s staff was also directed to review the remainder who applied after April 22 through 8 a.m. Thursday.

The PUC determined that the 30 who were approved on Thursday did not include enough information in their original application which was reviewed on April 14.

The application deadline was April 8.

The now 370 party status designees are “far, far, beyond anything I’ve seen in my 11 years,” Nelson said.

Despite the number of those involved in the process, the timeline must remain, he said. “We have a statutory deadline to meet,” Nelson said.

Those involved in the process will now spend the next several months exchanging and gathering material in preparation for the project hearing that should be in late fall.