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Schoenbeck Threatens Iowa CO2 Pipeliners with Killer Legislation… But Route Already Moved

I don’t recall Lee Schoenbeck complaining much about pipelines using eminent domain to run Canadian tar sands oil through farmers’ fields. But boy, aim a carbon dioxide pipeline through land belonging to some Catholic sisters, and Lake Kampeska’s best Senator is ready to raise holy heck:

Senator Lee Schoenbeck, emails to Glacial Lakes Energy 2022.02.26 and Public Utilities Commission 2022.02.28, in PUC Docket HP22-001: In the Matter of the Application by SCS Carbon Transport LLC for a Permit to Construct a Carbon Dioxide Transmission Pipeline.
Senator Lee Schoenbeck, emails to Glacial Lakes Energy 2022.02.26 and Public Utilities Commission 2022.02.28, in PUC Docket HP22-001: In the Matter of the Application by SCS Carbon Transport LLC for a Permit to Construct a Carbon Dioxide Transmission Pipeline.

Move your pipeline, Summit Carbon Solutions, or you “won’t like the legislation [you’ll] see next year.” Wow—I love it when Lee talks dirty.

The Benedictine Sisters who own Harmony Hill need not worry: Summit Carbon Solutions said it changed the route months ago:

The proposed route was moved from the Harmony Hill area but it had already been moved some months prior to Schoenbeck’s Feb. 26 emails, according to a copy of a letter from Brett Koenecke, a Pierre lawyer working with Summit.

SCS provided KELOLAND News with a copy of Brett Koenecke’s letter.

Koenecke said in the March 7 letter to PUC executive director Patty Van Gerpen that when he received Schoenbeck’s Feb. 26 emails, he “immediately inquired of the SCS project development team.”

Koenecke said he learned that the route had been “significantly altered some months ago and no longer impacted the property about which (Schoenbeck) was speaking and concerned.”

Summit Carbons said in a statement shared with KELOLAND News by company spokesman Courtney Ryan, “Modifications to the route at this early stage are not unusual. In this case, we are confident based on feedback from many of those involved that the issue has been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction” [Rae Yost, “Sen. Schoenbeck Intervenes on CO2 Route in Watertown,” KELO-TV, 2022.03.18].

Everyone’s satisfaction? Summit Carbon Solutions, may you all had better call Senator Schoenbeck, just to make sure. And even if Lee and the Sisters are fine, it sounds like you still have landowners in all five states where you plan to dig who don’t dig your taking of their land.


  1. larry kurtz 2022-03-18 13:33

    Jesus, Mary and Joseph: give us strength.

    In Iowa voluntary buffer strips and other conservation practices have simply failed desertifying parts of the state and causing the Raccoon River to be named one of the most endangered waterways in the United Snakes so Summit Carbon Solutions wants to dig a $4.5 billion pipeline that would rip up over 700 miles of unceded tribal lands where thousands of Indigenous Americans are buried? According to Iowa State University some land impacted by pipelines never recovers from the disturbance.

  2. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-03-18 13:58

    Now, Larry, you know better than that. Grass and dead Indians don’t agitate the Senator from Lake Kampeska. Lee only wields his Legislative blunderbuss when his own constituents’ backyards face disturbance.

  3. grudznick 2022-03-18 14:04

    Everyone who has blogged at this blogging space knows grudznick speculates on good authority that god drowned in a bowl of cereal.

    Mr. Schoenbeck is a swell enough fellow and I don’t care for his god and sure don’t truck much with nuns building housing developments, but really where is Mr. Schoenbeck wrong here? He can bring whatever law bills he wants In the sessions. That’s his job.

  4. JNNelsen 2022-03-18 15:39

    Kind of a bullying threat! Not very statesman like for a Senator, or adult like for that matter.

  5. 96Tears 2022-03-18 16:07

    Drop that pipeline south several miles and ram it through Noem’s family farm lands. Heck, shove it under Kone’s Korner and get the ammosexual rednecks in a big fluster. Kristi should lead by example. Ram that pipeline up her property and see if she’s still smiling. Since she’s incapable of empathy, Kristi would have no idea how the Native people and protesters felt when they were being given the treatment.

  6. Arlo Blundt 2022-03-18 16:10

    “What’s the use of having political power if you don’t use it.” seems to be Schoenbeck’s motto here. Sharp elbows. Leberman’s ribs are sore.

  7. Donald Pay 2022-03-18 17:27

    I’m not an opponent of NIMBYism, and what Schoenbeck did here was classic crony NIMBYism. So, yeah, fine. This is a response of a politician to constituent pressure. The end result was moving the pipeline slightly, the constituents’ main concern, but it never really confronted the real issue, and it represents a kind of environmental injustice. Those not tied in very closely to a powerful politician who will do their bidding have no one to speak for them about shifting the route. I see no reason why one property owner should be favored over another because they have some cheap politician in their pocket. So all Schoenbeck’s little effort on this did was shift the burden to someone with far less power to keep the pipeline off their property. If I were the people pushing this Harmony Hill development, Sen. Schoenbeck and the Catholic sisters, I’d ponder the morality of their little maneuver.

    A far better way to site or not site infrastructure is not to use behind the scenes threats and other power moves, but to prepare environmental impact statements with all the pros and cons of alternative routes and send it out for public comment. Another thing that an EIS would provide is a consideration of a “no action” alternative, ie., not building the entire pipeline in the first place. But we can’t do it that democratic way, can we? It wouldn’t fit with the normal South Dakota way of doing things, where politicians do things to make themselves look useful to powerful interests.

  8. DaveFN 2022-03-18 23:42

    Donald Pay

    “An environmental impact statement, supported by pages of scientific findings, generally carries an air of authority, the sense of unbiased truth. And yet, it is important to understand that interpretation of science is an art, subject to the same vagaries and biases as those of the art critic. We must consider the source and his or her potential motives. How a piece of scientific writing is structured can impact how the piece is received. The choice to put more or less weight on certain types of research can also impact the conclusions one reaches about a given subject.”

  9. larry kurtz 2022-03-19 07:42

    So, what’s not to like about six (seven? eight?) month winters, rampant racism, chilling effects on civil rights, an extremist legislature, living in a chemical toilet, sacrifice zone, perpetual welfare state and permanent disaster area? No corporate taxes, a compliant regulator, a dearth of environmental protection and cheap labor make South Dakota the perfect dumping ground for earth killers like coal and eyesores like wind farms.

  10. grudznick 2022-03-19 08:40

    Temperature in Albuquerque this morning: 31
    Temperature in Rapid City this morning: 31

    Breakfast commute time in Rapid City is far shorter.
    You can keep your eyesore wind farms out of South Dakota, thank you very much.

  11. Donald Pay 2022-03-19 09:00

    DaveFN, True. The National Environmental Policy Act provides a process that has to be faithfully implemented. It can’t just be scientists sitting around a table ascertaining “the truth” and foisting it on the public. That would be little better than Schoenbeck’s insider fixing. It has to involve the broader public, who are asked to submit their concerns and ideas from the outset. It looks for alternatives to the project. It looks for alternatives within the project. I’ve seen good and bad NEPA documents. In terms of science, it does provide a way for scientists with differing expertise to explore and hash out issues that the public has identified. An EIS is not the final say, anyway. It’s a disclosure document.

  12. Sandra Flittie 2022-03-19 12:54

    The largest ethanol company in South Dakota, POET, is not involved in this project. Maybe someone should ask them why.

  13. leslie 2022-03-20 11:58

    Windfarms all across the NE panhandle far as insight can see, out in the middle of nowhere sand country. NE red necks have always been smarter than SD red necks. Wonder if it’s certainly that great big university? Of course. Same w/WY on both counts.

    Grdz just sits there grinning, head in the dirt.

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