The Minnehaha County Commission chose Tuesday to defer any action to make it harder to build pipelines in South Dakota’s most populous county until the Public Utilities Commission sets its timeframe for approving Summit Carbon Solutions’ Midwest Carbon Express carbon dioxide pipeline. The commission also declined to hear comments from the public on the subject:
Commissioner Jeff Barth, who is running as a PUC candidate this November, was the lone dissenting vote. Barth supported opening the meeting for public comment, but commission chair Cindy Heiberger clarified the meeting was not a public hearing.
…Some residents, including Gary Meyer, a frequent attendee at commission meetings, left after being told there would be no opportunity for comment.
In closing, Heiberger advised landowners lobby legislators at the capitol, talk to PUC and continue to watch the issue as it unfolds [Nicole Ki, “Landowners ‘Disappointed’ as Minnehaha County Defers Moratorium on CO2 Pipeline Permits, Land Use,” Sioux Falls Argus Leader via Yahoo, 2022.08.02].
The commission also prevented Commissioner Barth from obtaining information from Summit lobbyist Dan Lederman during Tuesday’s meeting:
Barth, from his chair on the board, took the opportunity to address Dan Lederman, Republican Party chair, who was sitting in the audience at the meeting.
“I see Dan Lederman is here, who is a top lobbyist for Summit pipeline people and wearing their shirt emblazoned with Summit Pipeline Solutions,” Barth said. “How much are they paying you do that?”
Heiberger responded that Barth’s comments were out of place and should be directed to Lederman on the side [Ki, 2022.08.02].
Even if the other commissioners had allowed Barth’s question, Lederman might not have answered. Lederman didn’t want to talk to the press after the meeting:
We asked Dan Lederman after the meeting how he can work equitably between the South Dakota Republican party, Saudi Arabia, and Summit Carbon solutions. He had no comment [Beth Warden, “CO2 Pipeline Moratorium Effort Fails in Minnehaha County,” KSFY, 2022.08.02].
However, Summit Carbon Solutions is certainly eager to talk to us through other channels. The same day Lederman was ignoring the press, I received a spam text from 605-269-8409 promoting some astroturf website, Midwest Ag Future, put up in June to flog Summit’s CO2 pipeline. The website contains no information about Midwest Ag Future LLC, which Rapid City attorney Roger Tellinghuisen incorporated for St. Paul lawyer Daniel L. Scott on July 11, 2022, at 124 Main Street in Howard, which Scott appears to use for at least one other corporate filing. The website offers some fluff about Summit’s CO2 pipeline (the project “safeguards our region’s and our families’ futures,”) promises Summit’s pipeline will remove 12 million tons of CO2 annually and “create 11,000 high-quality jobs during construction” and “support 1,100 permanent jobs once operational” (really? It doesn’t take 1,100 people to operate a pipeline; Summit here is likely counting a bunch of farmers and ethanol plant workers are already in business), and tries harvesting contact info and volunteers to write to the PUC, contact their county commissioners, write letters to the editor, and attend public meetings.
Maybe when Barth joins the PUC, we can get a moratorium on paid corporate propaganda from unidentifiable corporate shells.
Bonus Supply and Demand Issue: Instead of spending billions on a pipeline to ship carbon dioxide to burial grounds (fracking fields?) in North Dakota, why not bottle that CO2 at the ethanol plants and sell it to the local brewers who are worried about a CO2 shortage drying up craft beer?