South Dakota Farmers Union Advocates for Additional Safeguards Following PUC’s Summit Carbon Solutions Permit Denial

Posted on: September 11, 2023   |   Category: News Releases

Today, September 11, Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline was denied a permit by the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission with a unanimous 3-0 vote. Summit’s $5.5 billion project aims to establish a pipeline network traversing five states- including South Dakota- to transport CO2 emissions from 34 ethanol plants.

Farmers, ranchers, landowners and community members have pushed back against Summit’s use of eminent domain to seize land along the proposed pipeline route. South Dakota Farmers Union is advocating to protect landowners through policy changes by excluding carbon dioxide as a common carrier commodity. The move would prevent  “eminent domain,” which is a legal process to gain access to land from unwilling landowners, for private gain. Unlike electricity, water or natural gas transported via pipelines, transporting highly pressured CO2 only benefits two private, foreign backed investor groups in pursuit of federal tax incentives.

South Dakota Farmers Union, once again, calls for strengthened protections for family farmers and land rights:

Doug Sombke, president, South Dakota Farmers Union

“We fully endorse the recent decisions made by the Public Utilities Commission to deny Summit Carbon Solutions’ permit application due to non-compliance with regulations. This ruling reinforces the crucial role of maintaining local control and regulations that safeguard our communities. However, it’s important to note that this denial marks the beginning of a new phase rather than the end. Summit Solutions now has the opportunity to revise and resubmit and we must stay vigilant.

Summit Carbon Solutions’ tactics are to strong-arm their way through the permitting process. Their strategy included intimidating counties with the threat of lawsuits if they enacted ordinances, and requesting the PUC to preempt these ordinances, all without demonstrating any genuine effort to comply with them. We stand behind the PUC’s decision, it serves as a continuous reminder that protecting landowners’ rights requires ongoing dedication. As it is, South Dakota’s communities have limited control over the project’s planning. We urge the public to stay actively involved and committed in the pursuit of a just and equitable system that upholds both property rights and environmental standards.”