Among the big businesses paying for Governor Kristi Noem’s second inauguration is one big Iowa business that hasn’t even started doing business yet, Summit Carbon Solutions:
Summit Carbon Solutions is the Iowa firm that wants to run part of a five-state network of carbon dioxide pipelines from East River ethanol plants to a sequestration site in North Dakota. SCS is run by big Iowa Republican donor Bruce Rastetter. The company’s main lobbyist in South Dakota is SDGOP chair Dan Lederman. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission will hold its hearing on the proposed pipeline in September.
Noem’s first inauguration was also sponsored by big pipeline money. TransCanada, now TC Energy, wrote Kristi a $10K check for her first swanky Pierre ball. TransCanada failed to get its Keystone XL pipeline, but it is still shipping Alberta tar sands oil through South Dakota (and spilling it in Kansas) via the original Keystone pipeline opened in 2010. TC Energy didn’t put up cash for this inauguration, but Dakota Access oil pipeliner Energy Transfer Partners did.
Interestingly, the other company seeking to build a carbon dioxide pipeline in South Dakota, Navigator, apparently did not feel the need to butter the Governor’s inaugural bread. Of course, Navigator isn’t run by Republican moneymen, and South Dakota is not as crucial to Navigator’s plan: while SCS has to run almost all of its CO2 through South Dakota to get to its sequestration site northwest of Bismarck, Navigator is shipping its CO2 to Illinois, and the three South Dakota plants hoping to connect sit at the tail end of Navigator’s system.
Navigator’s prime South Dakota customer did foot a big chunk of the inauguration. Poet Ethanol spurned Summit Carbon Solutions last spring and instead said it would ship its CO2 via Navigator’s proposed and evidently superior pipeline (“We choose our partners carefully,” said Poet boss Jeff Broin, “and we believe Navigator has the expertise to deliver long-term value to rural America…”).
Having Poet and Summit side by side on the inaugural program is almost as awkward as having big tobacco company Altria right next to hospital giant Avera, which has to work really hard to repair the human damage done by the noxious gases peddled by Altria and its less generous fellow inaugural tobacco donor RAI Services.
Strangely, Sanford Health did not join Avera in sponsoring this year’s inauguration. Sanford Health spent $5,000 on Noem’s first inauguration; T. Denny Sanford’s First Premier Bank gave at least another $10,000 to that 2019 show. Yet nothing Sanford appears among the prime donors of this year’s Capitol fête. Hmm… why might that be?