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Burns-Thompson Beats Hansen on Style and Substance in CO2 Pipeline Debate

Underscoring the double standard for fashion between men and women, Navigator CO2 lobbyist Elizabeth Burns Thompson travels all the way from the Omaha metro for a public debate in Brookings on her company’s proposed carbon dioxide pipeline and comes dressed to the nines while her opponent, Representative Jon Hansen, makes the easy 40-minute drive from Dell Rapids and slouches in with shabby jeans and an unbuttoned collar.

Joshua Haiar, Twitter picture of Elizabeth Burns-Thompson (left) and Rep. Jon Hansen (right), Brookings, SD, 2023.08.22.
Joshua Haiar, Twitter picture of Elizabeth Burns-Thompson (left) and Rep. Jon Hansen (right), Brookings, SD, 2023.08.22.

Even Hansen’s fellow South Dakota Republican Sara Frankenstein, who as moderator could have hidden some Kristi-style casual jeans behind the podium, recognized the gravity of the forum by dressing up in her sharp lemon suit.

Hansen represents the typical guy, thinking he can coast into a public meeting, wear any old thing, and get by on good-old-boy rhetoric and connections, while Burns-Thompson represents the socially obliged feminine thinking that she’s got to make the extra appearance effort to be taken seriously.

In addition to dressing better, Burns-Thompson also appears to have debated better, putting the lie to Hansen’s shabby old argument that carbon dioxide pipelines are part of a Biden-leftist plot to destroy the free market:

Hansen’s first answer was to characterize the Navigator project as a “boondoggle.” He said the project “wouldn’t be happening without the 45Q tax credit” and claimed there is “no free market” driving it.

“If there’s a different administration, that might change. I would be grateful for a different administration,” Hansen said. “Frankly, that would put an end to the 45Q tax credit and we could restore the free market, because, at the end of the day, if we have a free market deciding whether this carbon gets sequestered or not, I guarantee you it’s not going to happen.”

Burns-Thompson agreed to disagree. She explained the 45Q tax credit has existed for “multiple decades at this point,” beginning under the Bush administration in 2008.

“Those credit values were further expanded under the Trump administration in 2018 and then most recently in 2022, those values were then expanded again,” Burns-Thompson said [Dominik Dausch, “How Safe Can Carbon Pipelines in South Dakota Be? Inside the Debate Between Navigator, Landowners,” Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 2023.08.23].

Even though Burns-Thompson wouldn’t rule out using eminent domain as a last resort to obtain easements for building its pipeline, Hansen had to acknowledge that Burns-Thompson’s company hasn’t launched condemnation proceedings against landowners the way competing pipeliner Summit Carbon Solutions has. Nor has Navigator conducted disruptive surveys of farm land the way Summit has. Neither Navigator nor Summit is a leftist plot, but Summit has shown far less regard for the property rights conservative Hansen professes to cherish, and Summit is run by Hansen’s rich Republican friends from Iowa.

Hansen obviously needs to take some notes from Burns-Thompson on dressing up both himself and his arguments.


  1. sx123 2023-08-24 07:35

    “a tool of absolute last resort’
    That means they’ll use it if they don’t get what they want.

  2. Donald Pay 2023-08-24 09:53

    It would have been nice if Hansen had studied the history of those tax credits a bit before making a political statement that Burns-Thompson ripped him open on. That was one of the first things I looked at when this project was announced, because, as in most such things, tax credits tend to originate from the Republican Party. CO2 pipelines were originally short and intended to support the oil and gas industry. Thus, the Republican rush to socialize them. But now that they are are marketing CO2 pipelines differently to gain wider support, Republicans seem to be backing away. Hey, it’s marketing. They may “store” the CO2 for a few years, but it’s going to be used to enhance recovery of oil.

  3. John 2023-08-24 10:57

    Hansen and his ilk continually show their minds are as disorganized and undisciplined as their wardrobe.
    Perhaps if you’ve attended a funeral lately . . . you’ll observe their utter disrespect for the family of the deceased and the deceased through their shabby dress, posture, and speech. They wear their near medieval clothes, grammar, and manners as a badge of honor as opposed to the ignorant scabs seen by the rest of us.

  4. Arlo Blundt 2023-08-24 18:23

    I’m glad someone has brought the “South Dakota Slob” look to the attention of the public….it must be tough to make a living running a Men’s Clothing Store in South Dakota. Everyone used to have a full dark suit, that fit, for funerals and serious events, such as Mr. Hansen attended. As a Traditionalist, I just can’t render much respect to those donning the “Slob” look, whether in court, in Church, in the Legislature, or when conducting serious business.

  5. Bob Newland 2023-08-24 20:46

    Beating Hansen on style and substance is like swatting a fly already stuck on fly strip.

  6. Algebra 2023-08-26 08:43

    I’m glad to read this.
    In 2015 I went to an event sponsored by AFP featuring a number of Republicans running for POTUS (but Trump wasn’t there, by the way.)
    One after another, the candidates came to the stage dressed in suits, ties, looking sharp and presidential, standing up straight, giving articulate speeches..
    And then there was Ted Cruz, in shirtsleeves. Reminded me of Juan Peron and his descamisados look: no jacket no tie, and his fat gut hanging out over his belt. Slouching, he delivered bumper sticker slogans one at a time, and each was greeted by the audience with wild applause and cheering. “These people have lost their minds,” I thought.
    After seeing that, Trump was an improvement.
    We need to point out that this populist crap is insulting to sentient voters.

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