SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — There was emotional testimony today in Pierre from landowners who are fighting against proposed CO2 pipelines.
They are a big topic in several states right now, including South Dakota.
The House State Affairs Committee passed two bills that give landowners more rights when it comes to eminent domain.
In the committee hearing, landowners complained that Summit Carbon Systems and Navigator CO2 are using the state’s current eminent domain laws to leverage one-sided right-of-way agreements to place carbon pipelines on their land.
“Now our family is faced with another pipeline, how many pipelines will we have to endure on the ground that we worked so hard to make a living,” landowner Joy Hohn said.
“I’ve been through floods, droughts, fires and we’ve persevered through all of those, but now we are under attack, I feel like we are being invaded,” landowner Ed Fishbach said.
The main bill would not allow the use of eminent domain in the case of a “non-commodity”, something that has no value and is placed in the ground.
It will also deny the use of eminent domain if the pipeline receives federal tax credits.
The Summit pipeline would be two thousand miles long stopping off at ethanol plants capturing their CO2 from their distilling process.
The proposed Navigator line is 1,300 miles long.
Representatives from the two carbon dioxide pipelines say using eminent domain is a last resort and they prefer working out the easements with farmers and ranchers instead.
“We are working with landowners on a daily basis to secure voluntary easement agreements, we are continually moving the route working with landowners, it could be the depth of the pipeline, how we cross their property, drain tile, all of those things are part of the negotiation process,” Jake Ketzner with Summit Carbon Solutions said.
So far they have reached agreements with 472 landowners in the state, that’s about 60% of what they need for the pipelines to be put into place.
“If a pipeline is unable to be built in South Dakota, it is unlikely we will consider that sight as a viable option for the future,” GEVO Kent Hartwig said.