Democratic nominee Jeff Barth will run against incumbent Republican Chris Nelson for Public Utilities Commissioner. In accepting his party’s nomination yesterday in Fort Pierre, Minnehaha County Commissioner Barth made clear that he will defend the rights of South Dakota landowners against the predations of the rich Iowa Republicans who want to seize their land and build a carbon dioxide pipeline:
The PUC is considering a state permit for a proposed Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline that would collect carbon dioxide from various ethanol plants in the region and bury the gas in North Dakota.
“The CO2 pipeline, it’s, it’s really a terrible thing,” Barth said. He noted that when Dan Lederman, the South Dakota Republican chairman, first brought the proposal to the Minnehaha County Commission, Barth thought, “Oh okay, what is this?
“And the more I found about it, the more I turned against it. It can explode. It can kill you by asphyxiation. This is going to make a lot of money, for some people, but not that much for anybody in South Dakota. Certainly some of our ethanol plants are excited to have it. But they’ve been operating without this pipeline for thirty years.
…“So my opponent Chris Nelson says he has nothing to do with eminent domain. Eminent domain is certainly something he gives to a company when they get a permit for a project. He is telling a lie when he says eminent domain has nothing to do with him.”
“He (Nelson) then goes on to say that he cannot, that he has to approve a project if they check all the boxes,” Barth continued. “Why don’t we have the DMV handle the paperwork? Check all the boxes, let that company use eminent domain to damage your land permanently, to endanger your family. What do we have beside land and family? Let’s not let that happen” [Bob Mercer, “SD Democrats Don’t Run a Candidate Against Jackley,” KELO-TV, updated 2022.07.10].
Land and family—Barth knows how to frame a campaign message around values! That should make Chris Nelson squirm…and it should make conservative rural landowners who normally lean Republican think a little more about who really represents their values.
Perhaps Chris Nelson will also squirm at the prospect of Jeff Barth getting his video-band back together from 2012, when the Barth for Congress campaign put together the greatest South Dakota campaign video ever. Watch that 2012 gem here (and note the 31 years in that Bell hardhat “climbing poles and digging holes”), and then watch for the 2022 update explaining why Jeff Barth should be our next Public Utilities Commissioner!