Joshua Haiar writes a good article on the strange political bedfellows resisting carbon dioxide pipelines in South Dakota and the single principle uniting them: corporations should not get to use eminent domain to build their private project:
Opponents of eminent domain for carbon dioxide pipeline projects in South Dakota have forged a unique coalition. It includes Republicans, Democrats, climate change deniers who see the pipelines as a boondoggle, and environmentalists skeptical of the pipelines’ benefits.
Many of them agree on one contention: that unlike water and natural gas pipelines, electrical transmission lines and other projects that have used a legal process called eminent domain to gain access to land, a liquified carbon dioxide pipeline would not deliver a product needed by the general public. Therefore, opponents say, carbon pipeline projects should not be allowed to use eminent domain to access land against a landowner’s will [Joshua Haiar, “Unusual Alliances Emerge amid Opposition to Eminent Domain for Carbon Pipelines,” South Dakota Searchlight, 2023.07.07].
Senate President Pro Tempore Lee Schoenbeck (R-5/Lake Kampeska) has tried to protect his corporate Republican pipeliner friends from that one unifying point of opposition by arguing, most recently in a June 29 radio interview with Steve Jurrens, that pipeline protestors can’t logically oppose eminent domain because it is essential to building roads, power lines, and water pipes. As I explained last year, Schoenbeck’s response is a fallacy: the public utilities Schoenbeck cites provide goods and services directly to all members of the public; the proposed carbon dioxide pipelines “only turn an ethanol-plant waste product into a profit line for a few favored private businesses. When it comes to justifying an infringement on basic rights, there’s a big difference between infringing property rights to directly deliver electric light and heat to all of our neighbors and infringing property rights to directly profit a handful of big businesses.”
House Democratic leader Rep. Oren Lesmeister (D-28A/Parade) rebuts Schoenbeck with that distinction:
“It’s property rights versus corporate America,” said Rep. Oren Lesmeister, D-Parade. “Proponents will say everyone should turn off their faucets and lights because eminent domain made that happen. I challenge people to look into that. Very little, if any, eminent domain is used to put in a power line or a water line because ‘we the people’ wanted those” [Haiar, 2023.07.07].
Not just wanted those utilities but needed them. You don’t need CO2 in your house, and neither you nor any of your neighbors will get CO2 in your house from the pipeliners who want to seize your land. If they want to to dispose of their waste and make money from tax breaks for doing so, they should have to do so on their own property.