PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission says more than 300 people, businesses, organizations, associations and local governments can intervene in the permitting process for a proposed pipeline that would collect and carry away carbon dioxide to North Dakota.

Thursday’s action comes less than a week after the company, SCS Carbon Transport, filed a revised map changing parts of the planned route through Lincoln, Minnehaha, Lake, Miner, Beadle, Edmunds, and McPherson counties.

Those April 8 route changes came the same day as the deadline for applications to intervene in the docket. The commission’s decision Thursday was to accept nearly all of those applications and to give the remaining 28 another two weeks.

Chairman Chris Nelson said the number of applications for intervention was “unprecedented” in the 11 years he’s served on the commission.

SCS Carbon Transport filed the original application February 7, 2022. A hearing date hasn’t been scheduled. State law says the commission has one year to reach a decision unless the applicant seeks an extension.

Commissioners Gary Hanson and Josh Haeder said they would consider reopening the intervention period if any additional people or businesses could be affected by the company’s changes to its proposed route. Haeder, who’s state treasurer, is sitting on the docket for commissioner Kristie Fiegen, who recused herself with a conflict of interest.

Nelson said the commission’s staff has prepared a guide that intervenors should review. “With that status comes rights and responsibilities,” he said. The draft list is here.

Dakota Rural Action organizer Chase Jensen said during the public-comment period at the end of the meeting that landowners were frustrated by the low quality of maps that SCS Carbon Transport has released. He suggested the commission extend the intervention deadline until the company submits maps that people can better understand. He also suggested the intervention deadline should stay open until the commission has data on rupture modeling in case of a leak or break in the pipeline.

Jensen said landowners aren’t clear about where to take their dissatisfaction with the company’s field people on the project. “They don’t know where they can express those complaints,” he said.