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Carbon Dioxide Pipeliners Rushing to Build Before Feds Update Regulations

The Science and Environmental Health Network notes that Summit Carbon Solutions and other corporate interests pushing carbon dioxide pipelines are talking out of both sides of their mouths on pipeline safety regulation. On the one hand, the CO2 pipeliners are telling local officials that only the federal government, through the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, has the authority to regulate their proposed projects. In Iowa, Summit Carbon Solutions is using just that premise to overturn county safety ordinances in court. Yet current federal regulations do not adequately cover the proposed CO2 sequestration pipelines, and the pipeliners are rushing to grab land and build their pipelines before the PHMSA can complete its research and issue new regulations:

PHMSA itself acknowledges that CO2 pipelines are underregulated, and the agency currently lacks the technical knowledge required to inform minimum safety standards.

…The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration conducted an investigation following the Satartia disaster. Based on that probe, PHMSA announced new rulemaking on CO2 pipeline standards, including emergency preparedness and response. PHMSA also solicited scientific research on CO2 pipeline safety to inform the new rulemaking.

Regulatory gaps include no current requirement to add an odorant to transported CO2. Since carbon dioxide is odorless and colorless, spills are harder to observe and therefore avoid. The requirement of an odorant would help alert the public of a CO2 pipeline rupture.

Results from the PHMSA funded research will not become available until 2024 at the earliest. The CO2 pipeline knowledge gaps must be resolved before reasonable and thorough rulemaking can begin. In the absence of sufficient knowledge and safety regulations, it is reckless to proceed with state permitting of CO2 pipelines.

The incongruity is that the carbon capture and storage corporations are telling the states that only PHMSA can regulate CO2 pipelines. PHMSA has said it needs new regulations, but the corporations and states aren’t waiting for the regulations to be promulgated [Carolyn Raffensperger and Sheri Deal-Tyne, “Corporations Exploit CO2 Pipeline Regulatory Gaps in Tax Credit Gold Rush,” Bleeding Heartland, 2022.12.02].

Not that South Dakota landowners threatened by these underregulated pipelines actually care: last month, they had the chance to elect a Public Utilities Commissioner who promised to protect landowners from CO2 pipelines. Instead, they rejected Jeff Barth and reëlected Chris Nelson, who promised not to let the PUC stand in the pipeliners’ way, by the largest margin of any statewide lawmaker headed to Pierre. Counties along proposed CO2 pipeline routes all gave Nelson the win, with some counties where pipeline opponents have been highly vocal, like Spink and McPherson, gave Nelson percentages higher than his statewide take.

7 Comments

  1. P. Aitch 2022-12-07 07:29

    Lederman’s a scoundrel’s scoundrel, isn’t he?

  2. larry kurtz 2022-12-07 10:40

    Yes, tornadoes, flooding, habitat destruction, wildfire potential and now another eight month winter returns to the chemical toilet, perpetual welfare state and permanent disaster area that is South Dakota.

    Ash and soot from wildfires in the Siberian taiga are accelerating the loss of Arctic sea ice driving more frequent and deeper polar vortexes.

    Let’s face it: the only worse place than Pierre or Aberdeen to live is DC. East River is a dead zone: smarter people than i can figure out how to sort out that mess. Everything east of the Missouri River is Cleveland anyway.

  3. leslie 2022-12-07 12:15

    Little Red State SD’s Dept of Ag and Environment whatever, and PUC apparently can, will do nothing to evaluate safety of CO2 pipeline construction under the wire, like big meat is doing in Sx Falls. Know nothing, see nothing Noem.

    Perhaps this has been covered.

    Noem is only focused on mouthing radical republican policy. Like Hungarian PM holocaust denier Orban’s right wing campaign agains Soros, as followed by Rick Scott, Desantis and Gov Youngen.

  4. larry kurtz 2022-12-07 19:11

    South Dakota is tied for first place with three other horrible red states where the loss amounts from climate disasters caused a billion+ dollars in damage per capita since 1980. North Dakota has had 45 billion-dollar climate disasters since 1980 and my home state has suffered 38.

  5. Mark Anderson 2022-12-07 19:19

    Larry Kurtz, I’ve lived in both Pierre and Aberdeen and neither of them have all the free museum’s that DC has. In fact the January 6 rioters were really protesting the closing of the National Gallery due to covid. No art to look at, they went looking for Nancy.

  6. grudznick 2022-12-07 19:20

    Lar, did you see all the garbage they have to haul out of the Rocky Point joint every year? I fear you set a bad precedent.

  7. leslie 2022-12-08 22:23

    meanwhile …

    Pipeline regulation:

    There have been seven Keystone [pipeline] spills [now] since it became operational in June 2010, according to PHMSA data. The largest were in December 2017, when more than 6,600 barrels spilled in South Dakota, and in November 2019, when more than 4,500 barrels spilled in North Dakota, according to PHMSA figures.”

    Yesterday’s on the NE/KS border is 20000 bbls.

    “It is troubling to see so many failures and so much oil spilled from any pipeline, but it is especially troubling from such a relatively new pipeline,” said Bill Caram, executive director of the nonprofit Pipeline Safety Trust, in a statement.” https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/keystone-pipeline-shut-after-oil-spill-into-kansas-creek-2022-12-08/

    Similarly, North Dakota, AND Noem used Standing Rock resistance to her XL pipeline UNDER the Mighty Mo’ on Oahe, to enact Trumpist “ANTIFA” laws that violated Indian protest rights, which a Federal judge had to overturn.

    ND, still a territory, beat her to the Trump “punch” electing Trumpist in nearly every way, Frank Langer and then, Gov “Wild Bill” Wm Langer, (born on September 30, 1886) near Casselton, Dakota Territory, to German-American parents…. His Catholic father, Frank Langer, was a member of the first legislature of the state of North Dakota. William, who spoke German fluently, [1] [unlike Trump] was valedictorian of Casselton High School upon graduation in 1904.

    Nothing is new in corrupt politics.

    Because of [a campaign finance] felony conviction, the North Dakota Supreme Court ordered Langer removed from office, and on July 17, 1934, the Court declared Lieutenant Governor Ole H. Olson the legitimate governor.[4] Langer gathered with about ten friends, declared North Dakota independent, declared martial law, and barricaded himself in the governor’s mansion until the Supreme Court would meet with him.[5] He eventually relented, and Olson served the remainder of Langer’s term as governor.

    In 1935 the convictions were overturned on appeal. The case against Langer was retried twice in 1935. Miller, following a recusal motion by Langer, refused to step down as judge in the first retrial, which resulted in a hung jury. Between the second and third trials, [Judge] Lanier filed charges against Langer for committing perjury in his recusal motion against Miller. This trial, unprecedented in its nature on perjury in an affidavit requesting a recusal, resulted in a directed verdict to acquit Langer. The second retrial of the original charges, presided over by a judge other than Miller, resulted in Langer’s acquittal.[3]

    Throughout the trials, Langer maintained that he was innocent and the victim of a political vendetta by Miller and Lanier. He was reelected governor in 1936. [Later to the US Senate, but under continued lapse of “moral turpitude”.] Historian Lawrence Larsen has called Langer “a master of political theater”.[6] wiki

    Kristi has a legacy of “model” governors behavior to choose from.

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