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Smith, Haugaard Share Landowner Concerns About Eminent Domain for Pipeline; Noem Uninterested

Ed Fischbach of Spink County has been raising the alarm about Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed carbon dioxide pipeline since it was announced last fall. He has helped alert his neighbors about the hazards of this project, perhaps most importantly the Iowa company’s proposed use of eminent domain to acquire right-of-way through Fischbach’s and others’ land if they don’t sign easements.

”We don’t believe eminent domain should be granted to any private individual or private company to take our land, but if you sign a voluntary easement, and the project is abandoned or stopped in the future, you will never get that easement back,” said Fischbach [Sarah Parkin, “Landowners Unite Against Summit Carbon Solutions Pipeline,” KSFY, 2022.06.03].

Fischbach and other landowners planned to meet last night in Mellette to talk with each other in person and virtually with their attorney, Brian Jorde. As a demonstration of their support for property rights, both Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jamie Smith and Republican gubernatorial candidate Steven Haugaard planned to attend. Smith made clear his support for property rights in a statement to the press before the meeting:

Dakota News Now received the following statement from Jamie Smith:

I share many of the concerns that citizens of Northeastern South Dakota have about the pipeline. In these conversations, safety, public benefit, and transparency are on everyone’s mind. If the landowners can come to an agreement with Summit, that’s their business, but as Governor, I will never subvert landowners’ rights for the benefit of private corporations” [Parkin, 2022.06.03].

But South Dakota’s poster girl for Freedom™, Governor Kristi Noem, declined to participate:

When Governor Kristi Noem’s team was reached out to regarding her attendance, Dakota News Now was given the following statement:

“Governor Noem will not be attending the meeting. The Public Utilities Commission has jurisdiction over this project, and it is working its way through the appropriate process, including vital public feedback” [Parkin, 2022.06.03].

Wow—Governor Noem took no such hands-off position about the Legislature’s jurisdiction over the impeachment process when she wanted to fry Jason Ravnsborg.

I guess Freedom™ is just a horse Noem rides when it looks good on a poster, not when it stands in the way of rich Iowa Republicans who want to make some money on the backs of South Dakota landowners.


  1. sx123 2022-06-06 07:53

    I went to SCS’s website and see nothing but marketing fluff.

    SCS claims it has ‘the potential’ to help climate change. Seems like a lot of money and disruption for ‘potential’

    Hopefully the PUC is looking at scientific papers amd existing evidence that this won’t be a waste of money, time, and resources.

  2. sx123 2022-06-06 08:33

    I also see the Sierra Club warns that CO2 piplelines may help extend the lifetime of fossil fuel based power plants.
    Pick your poison.

  3. Mark Anderson 2022-06-06 08:36

    Well pretty much all Republican governor’s claim freedom. In reality, it’s freedom from the responsibility of having to make difficult decisions.

  4. RST Tribal Member 2022-06-06 09:01

    Honey bunny Noem picks what pipe she wants to ride, it seems.

    Keystone XL she’s on it, as she proclaims in 2019, “I’m a supporter of property rights, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly“. As she encouraged the laying of that pipe without pause.

    With DAPL she was in the saddle, with boots, spurs, hat and belt buckle. A pipe was already put in near her, she proclaimed, and she kept a watchful eye as it went in. Bring another pipe through her state was her excited cry until President Biden took it all away. Honey bunny was all dolled up but no pipe in sight.

    This latest pipe laying situation has her silent as she is busy campaigning for South Dakota Governor all over the United States except South Dakota. When the pipe money starts flowing in earnest, she will be at the head of the hand-me-out line pushing out I am a “pipe man” Dust the Johnson or re-elected me please RINO Thune.

    PUC is checking the political radar to see how to decide. It’s not the sciences that makes the case, it’s the deep pockets pipe companies buying up inept inbred Republicans from Pierre, to Washington, or to the many bars around the state; the strongholds of elected inept inbred Republican leaders (or so it seems).

  5. mike from iowa 2022-06-06 09:42

    Please don’t forget these rich iowa business owners did much the same things to iowa land owners first.

  6. Nick Nemec 2022-06-06 09:54

    Both Jamie Smith and Steven Haugaard attended the meeting, Haugaard had especially harsh criticism for Dan Lederman who wears the dual hat of chairman of the SD GOP and Summit Carbon Solutions top dog and campaign contributions chief in South Dakota.

    Misrepresentations about eminent domain were addressed. The bottom line take away from the meeting is never sign one of these easements, if it comes down to it, it is always better to let the process play out and make pipeline companies take you to court to get their easement.

    “They don’t lie but they never tell the truth.”

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-06-06 12:53

    Thanks for the in-person update, Nick! I wish Haugaard would amplify his concerns about Lederman’s conflict of interest. Will Haugaard continue to speak up against this project if he doesn’t win the primary?

  8. 96Tears 2022-06-06 13:02

    Having driven through much of East River this last month I am amazed at how white-hot angry farmers and town folks are at SCS and its #1 shill Basin Electric, a cooperative that had to fight big corporations and Republicans from statehouses to the White House and Congress to retain their use of publicly generated electricity and cheap federal loans to string poles, lines and substations to farms and smaller towns. They feel betrayed. They are eager to paint a target on the Public Utilities Commission.

    I’ve never seen farmers and small towns this unified and motivated to fire Republicans since the farm crisis of the 80s.

    Two things they hate about SCS. The double-speak and amoeba shape shifting of the pipeline route. The constant changes keep people guessing if they do or don’t have legal standing to protest the pipeline. Their other outrage is the ability of the perpetual easement holder to sell access to anyone else with a dumb idea, leaving the property owner cut out of decisions affecting their family farm. That would have a devastating impact on property values. They feel the Public Utilities Commission is aiding and abetting the theft of their properties.

    This, of course, doesn’t endear any trust in the PUC, Noem and the politcos in Pierre who think the pipeline has any benefit to the state economy or to the environment. Several people I talked with said they think the CO2 pipeline is going to be used to send Bakken crude oil to refineries. That seems unlikely, but folks out there trust nobody in authority in Pierre and in Washington.

    Bottom line. People are highly ticked. They trust nobody. They are getting screwed. The PUC and Pierre are complicit in keeping property owners confused and upset.

    America’s Party Girl Kristi Noem is too busy with her presidential campaign to bother to show some leadership in our low population state. She’s a joke.

  9. Nick Nemec 2022-06-06 13:05

    Good question Cory. I happened to sit at the same table as Rep. Lana Greenfield, she is no fan of this pipeline. I hope these elected officials speak out.

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-06-06 13:26

    Lana’s not running for office; she has time to do some organizing against the pipeline!

    Did Smith make any noteworthy comments at the Mellette meeting?

  11. Nick Nemec 2022-06-06 16:39

    Candidates spoke at the end, Smith opposed the pipeline on the ground that the use of eminent domain for a non-utility company was an abuse of the purpose of the process.

  12. Arlo Blundt 2022-06-06 16:52

    Well…in my mind, the entire project requires strenuous inquiry in an open, public forum. Lederman’s involvement is especially troublesome. He is the Chair of the GOP in South Dakota and was probably chosen by the Iowa millionaires to lead the effort to jam this pipeline through South Dakota because he holds that powerful position. He was cut in on the action. His leadership of this very questionable project was meant to defer any political action by the legislature or PUC to slow the project. There is BIG money at stake here. If successful, Lederman will get to that next level of personal wealth and will be able to enjoy his sunset years from the patio of a nice house on a golf course in Palm Springs. A small reward for enduring the slings and arrows of political life in South Dakota.

  13. grudznick 2022-06-06 17:29

    Mr. Lederman lives just fine on a golf course in Dakota Dunes, thank you. Which is basically Iowa, you know.

  14. Arlo Blundt 2022-06-06 17:59

    Yes, Grudz, I know Dakota Dunes…before it was an up scale housing enclave for the wealthy of suburban Sioux City, my fraternity used to have great keg parties there. Now, I’d be stopped at the gate and denied admittance. Just another example of the wealthy Republicans ruining all the fun.It ain’t Palm Springs.

  15. grudznick 2022-06-06 18:10

    I heard they don’t like frat boys there. Didn’t know it was true until now.

  16. DaveFN 2022-06-06 18:29

    The sheer enormity of this project as originally proposed in the Princeton study (below) makes it unlikely to be feasible, let alone completed. It is therefore highly unlikely that it would achieve its greenhouse gas reduction objective or even begin to do so. The project is literally a pipe dream.

    RST Tribal Member and sx123 allude to the need to let science make the case. Sounds good in principle, but practically, the enormity of this project and its hucksters run far ahead of any currently available science that would argue for the project, as far as I’m concerned.

    “A much-touted December 2020 Princeton University study ― funded in part by the oil industry ― calls for a 65,000-mile system by 2050, which means adding 60,000 miles to the current 5,000 miles of CO2 pipeline. The new system would be organized into a spider web of continent-spanning trunk lines as large as 4′ in diameter — twice the size of the Satartia pipeline — fed by a system of smaller spur lines.

    [Full text of the Princeton study here with maps: ]

    But even 65,000 miles of pipeline could only move 15% of current U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. To have any effect on climate change “would entail CO2 pipeline capacity larger than the existing petroleum pipeline system,” which totals 2.6 million miles, according to a 2020 study in Biophysical Economics and Sustainability.

    Beginning with the Bush administration, the U.S. government has spent over $8 billion to promote carbon capture and storage (CCS). But almost all of the CO2 in current pipelines is used for enhanced oil recovery rather than being injected deep into the earth for secure geologic storage, and enhanced oil recovery produces more emissions than it sequesters. Almost none of today’s CO2 is manmade, but comes from natural sources like the Jackson Dome.

    Proposals like Princeton’s would likely require extending CO2 pipelines into heavily populated areas, across mountains and other natural barriers. The cost of such an enormous system is driving some to suggest simply repurposing existing natural gas pipelines to move CO2.

    But because CO2 is corrosive and will eat through the carbon steel used in petroleum pipelines if contaminated with even small amounts of water, CO2 pipelines have to be manufactured to a higher standard and the purity of the gas carefully monitored. And research shows that CO2 from a commonly used carbon capture technique is particularly likely to have water in it. CO2 pipelines also run at significantly higher pressures than natural gas pipelines, which in turn requires more energy-gobbling compressor stations along the line to keep the CO2 in a liquid state.

    That’s why a 2019 National Petroleum Council report warned against using existing natural gas pipelines to move CO2. The American Petroleum Institute has also highlighted the risks.”

    –above at

    Steel manufacture itself requires CaO (lime) as flux to remove the carbon, converting the latter to carbon dioxide. Traditional steel production results in approximately 2 tons of CO2 for every ton of steel produced. I’ve seen no calculation on how much CO2 will be released from the steel production necessary for the pipeline although there is plenty of talk on producing “clean steel” and reducing the CO2 in steel manufacture. Steel for a CO2 pipeline has to be exceptionally pure steel and such a pipeline requires exceptionally pure carbon dioxide: any water impurity in the carbon dioxide will react to form carbonic acid which in turn would react with any impurities in the steel leading to corrosion.

    A 3 June 2022 release, “Carbon Dioxide Pipelines: Safety Issues” only begins to skim the surface of my concerns when it comes to safety:,of%20man-made%20CO2%2C%20a%20greenhouse%20gas.%20Pipelines%20are

    If science is going to make a case for this project, it has a long way to go, and will take a long time. The hucksters who stand to benefit are not about to wait.

  17. Nick Nemec 2022-06-06 18:55

    DaveFN thanks for your comment and the links. One caution that was repeated at the meeting in Mellette was that the easement is perpetual and is not limited to transporting CO2. Once the easement is in place there is nothing in the easement language that prohibits the easement from being used for some other purpose such as an oil pipeline from the Bakken to points further south.

  18. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-06-06 19:30

    That new June 3 Congressional Research Service brief that Dave cites mentions, “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (P.L. 117-58) establishes a Carbon Dioxide Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation (CIFIA) program for CO2 pipelines and authorizes $2.1 billion over five years for low-interest CIFIA loans and grants.”

    Governor Noem, did you notice that? President Biden’s Infrastructure law could fund these CO2 pipelines. President Biden may be coming to take away farmer’s land! There’s your angle, Kristi, to get on the right side of this issue and defend farmers from eminent domain! Don’t tell them it’s Dan Lederman and Iowa Republicans coming to get them; tell them this pipeline is Joe Biden’s doing! Make yourself out to be their champion against evil Joe Biden!

  19. Donald Pay 2022-06-06 20:55

    There’s a lot of dingbatism in the Biden energy and “climate change” policies. Solyndra was a bust during the Obama years, but at least it was in the realm of feasible and only a small waste compared to Biden’s nuclear scams and CO2 projects. Remember when Rounds was going to abolish the Department of Energy. How come he isn’t banging the drums against this waste? Oh, wait, if the government waste is in piddly numbers, and he can’t skim a little in campaign doneation, then he rails, but when it’s a really big boondoggle, and he can benefit from it, he gets all squishy.

  20. scott 2022-06-06 21:13

    Noem backed herself into a corner. She continues to blame Biden for shutting down Keystone XL. She blames Biden for not expanding use of Ethanol. So how can Noem come out and be against a pipeline that would help the ethanol industry? On top of that she has her national political profile to watch and flipping on a pipeline would give her competition ammunition to use against her.

    It would appear to me Noem will not be able to turn this into something she can politesse and make money on, so thus she will keep her mouth shut.

    So that just means she will be talking more about other things (CRT, LGBQ) to distract from another real issue facing South Dakotans.

  21. grudznick 2022-06-06 21:14

    So, with this nuclear waste, is it possible that The Borehole could be funded under this Infrastructure Bipartisan Law Bill (IBLB)? You know that The Borehole is still feasible and on many people’s minds.

  22. Ed 2022-06-07 07:27

    Noem is trying to have it both ways because she received money from Bruce Rastetter, the owner of Summit Carbon Solutions proposing this project during her first run for governor four years ago. She’s being pressured by Lederman and Rastetter to support the pipeline, but she knows that the opposition is so overwhelming that she’s not willing to risked her election chances by shafting the landowners fighting the pipeline, many who supported her previously. Her cowardice is not going unnoticed , however, by the landowners, I can assure you. Most landowners in our opposition group who have supported her previously will not be doing so this time around regardless of their political affiliation.

  23. Arlo Blundt 2022-06-07 18:07

    The issue is eminent domain vs. “Willing buyers and willing sellers”. Courts seizing private property for a private entities easement, for a private fpr profit enterprise with a questionable public purpose has to arouse opposition across the state. The Governor has her wetted finger in the air.

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