PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — An attempt to give state regulators more time to consider permits for pipelines and other utility projects has died at the South Dakota Capitol.
The House Commerce and Energy Committee voted 10-3 on Wednesday to kill HB-1228.
The proposal from Republican Rep. Scott Moore sought to give the state Public Utilities Commission up to 24 months to process a permit application for construction of energy conversion facilities, AC/DC conversion facilities or transmission facilities.
The commission currently gets one year.
Utility companies regulated by the commission had lined up to oppose the change at the bill hearing Monday. They included lobbyists for Navigator Heartland Greenway and Summit Carbon Solutions, who have CO2-pipeline applications pending before the commission.
Summit Carbon Solutions wanted the commission to move up the evidentiary hearing on the application it filed on February 7, 2022. The hearing is scheduled to start September 11, 2023. That’s because the company had put the application on hold.
Summit’s local lawyer Brett Koenecke of Pierre has since repeatedly argued that the hearing should be earlier — the latest request was for April 24 — so that a final decision could be reached by June 15.
The commission however issued an order Wednesday denying that request. The order says a decision will be reached November 15.
A group calling itself Landowners for Eminent Domain Reform sought the legislation for the two-year permitting period. The commission didn’t take a side. Its three elected members maintain that pipelines must follow state law regarding eminent domain to acquire access across privately owned land.
Republican Rep. Byron Callies urged others on the House panel Wednesday to get rid of the legislation. “I don’t see any reason to extend this,” he said.
The landowner’s group succeeded in getting another anti-pipeline bill through the House last week. The Senate Commerce and Energy Committee plans a hearing on HB-1133 Thursday morning.
The legislation says that companies holding themselves out to the general public as being engaged in the business of transporting commodities for hire, by pipeline, are common carriers and defines commodity as “a product that is intended for commerce and is being transported to a point of distribution, consumption, or processing, within or outside of this state.”
It goes on to state, “The term does not include a product that is disposed of in geological storage or used in a manner that allows its owner, shipper, or the shipper’s customer to qualify for a tax credit or a direct (government) payment.”
The two CO2 projects propose to bury much of what they carry — SCS at a North Dakota site and Navigator at a site in Illinois.