This story has been updated with comments from spokeswomen for Navigator and the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.
PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A statement issued by Navigator on Thursday strongly suggests the company is pulling back from the South Dakota part of its plan to build a carbon-dioxide pipeline.
The news comes a week after the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission rejected Navigator’s permit application and one day after the commission officially issued its order denying Navigator’s request to pre-empt pipeline ordinances in Minnehaha and Moody counties.
South Dakota commission spokeswoman Leah Mohr told KELOLAND News on Thursday evening, “The PUC hasn’t received any notification from Navigator and until the (permit denial) order is issued it’s still an open docket, so commissioners aren’t available for comment or interviews.”
Navigator planned to pipe CO2 from three ethanol production facilities that Valero and POET own in Brookings, Turner and Lincoln counties.
State law allows transmission companies to re-apply. Navigator however appears to have possibly given up on the South Dakota permit.
“As we are evaluating the next steps of permitting in South Dakota, we have paused some of our right of way work in certain areas, like South Dakota and some parts of Iowa, which has meant releasing a few of the land agent contract teams working on behalf of the project,” the company’s statement said.
“The remaining land teams will be reallocated to ensure coverage across the footprint and continued conversations with landowners. Navigator remains committed to project development in a collaborative fashion, and is continuing to work towards that goal,” the company’s statement continued.
Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, the company’s vice president for government and public affairs, declined an invitation from KELOLAND News to further comment Thursday evening. “Just our statement for now,” she wrote back in an email.
Navigator’s plan originally called for a 1,300-mile pipeline that would collect up to 10 million metric tons of CO2 from 21 ethanol and agricultural-product facilities in five states — South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois — and transport it to a site in central Illinois for disposal.
Navigator applied for the South Dakota permit nearly one year ago on September 27, 2022. A portion of it said, “In South Dakota, Applicant proposes to install approximately 111.9 miles of new liquid carbon dioxide pipeline in three segments, the Aurora to Hartley lateral, 63.6 miles of 8- inch diameter pipeline; the POET Chancellor lateral, 22.6 miles of 6-inch diameter pipeline; and the POET Hudson lateral, 25.7 miles of 6-inch diameter pipeline.”
The application added, “The Aurora to Hartley lateral originates in South Dakota in Brookings County approximately 0.3 miles west of Aurora and continues generally south through Moody, and Minnehaha counties, exits South Dakota and enters Lyon County Iowa approximately 8 miles east of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The POET Chancellor lateral originates in Turner County South Dakota approximately 1.5 miles east of Chancellor, continues east into Lincoln County going east and northeast, and exits South Dakota and enters Iowa approximately 6 miles east of Harrisburg, South Dakota. The POET Hudson lateral originates in Lincoln County approximately 2.5 miles
southwest of Hudson, and continues generally northwest and north through Lincoln
County, terminating at an interconnection point with the proposed POET Chancellor lateral
approximately 3 miles south of Harrisburg, South Dakota.”