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Guest Column: Counties Should Block Carbon Dioxide Pipelines

As the ethanol lobby pushes for Summit Carbon Solutions’ carbon dioxide sequestration pipeline, Jamie Fisk of Tulare doesn’t want carbon dioxide pipeliners taking his land or anyone else’s. He wants every county commission to join his Spink County Commission and four other counties in enacting moratoria on carbon dioxide pipelines:

South Dakota citizens need your help.

We need to get on the agenda at every County Commission meeting and ask them to write Moratoriums until they can draft Ordinances routing these pipelines. We, the citizens in every County, deserve reasonable protection from the CO2 pipelines being forced on us by private companies. The CO2 pipelines of the type proposed for our area have never been built anywhere and are being built by companies that have never built or managed a hazardous CO2 pipeline. Summit Carbon Solutions is a new private for-profit company formed to take advantage of massive lucrative 45Q Federal tax credits (directly and indirectly), also known as corporate welfare. Their proposed carbon pipeline will be the largest and longest CO2 pipelines ever constructed in the United States, and will only take CO2 from Ethanol plants. They do NOT take CO2 from any other sources that do exist. This company has not previously built, or has no management experience in hazardous CO2 pipelines. South Dakota will be the guinea pig for their experiment.

This is NOT all about CO2 pipeline going in the ground. If this project goes through, they will be applying to the Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) for permits to take MILLIONS of gallons of water from the artesian aquifer to cool their pumps along the route. DNR had considered granting a permit to Redfield Energy for this purpose.  This will affect many farm, ranches, and small towns that rely on this water source for domestic use.

Spink, Brown, and McPherson County Commissioners have done an OUTSTANDING job of protecting their citizens by passing ordinances that route this hazardous pipeline away from home, cities, feedlots, hospitals, schools, etc. These counties have NOT been swayed by the taxes this pipeline could possibly generate and further commissioner enticement of “grant money” to be used for anything; this would be quid pro quo to ascertain affirmative support. SCS claims that the taxes will benefit county residents. Does this out-weigh the dangers that would be present? Greed for 45Q Federal tax is what is driving the need for this and similar pipelines.

The SD PUC has followed the State statute that gives the Counties the authority to route pipelines. SCS at several meetings stated that these counties have miles of existing hazardous pipelines. This is a true statement for Oil and Natural Gas pipelines. There are NO current CO2 pipelines in any County in South Dakota.

Oil and Natural Gas leaks are easily contained and cleaned up. CO2 is an asphyxiant, (killing any people or animals). It would look like a fog as it is heavier than air. Anyone entering the cloud would need to wear a respirator.
SCS personnel are currently out in Northern Spink and Southern Brown, trying to obtain easements and planning 4 different possible routes. The easements are paying 20% up front with the other 80% being paid once the pipeline has been built.

At many Commission meetings SCS is on the agenda for 15 minutes and often take more than 1 hour. They have asked for a 2-hour meeting several times. Our County Commissioners have full agendas with many important items to evaluate and decisions to be made. The number of times SCS has kept coming back is almost to the point of harassment.

When SCS re-files with the SD PUC for a new permit, possibly before the end of 2023. It will be very important for the Citizens of SD to attend the PUC meetings with comments to present. Please be ready to step up at these meetings and present your comments. Also be sure to post them on the new docket.

Any Landowner willing to sign one of these easements, needs to be sure to have this pipeline at least 6ft. in the ground and at least 2500ft from a resident’s buildings. Once you sign, you have given up all your rights to the land you own. I suggest you do your research and get informed first. Ask yourself, how will this affect my family, business, livestock, and if the money is worth the trouble? Be sure to contact a lawyer before you give up your property rights to your land.

This CO2 does not come from the combustion engine (that is CO Carbon Monoxide). CO2 is coming from only the fermentation of corn in the Ethanol plant. At present it is being injected into the steam that is part of the cook-off process making ethanol.

There are foreign investments and ties to foreign companies in Summit’s company, including a South Korean company SKE&S, which is related to SK Holdings, a company ¬fined over 70 million dollars for defrauding US military contracts. The Department of Justice documents show SK Holdings pleaded guilty in 2018 and again in 2020 to Government Fraud. Another case was listed as a settlement, while another is still pending.

There are currently 229,287 miles of hazardous liquid pipelines (Natural Gas, Oil and CO2) in the US. About 2.2% or 5,100 miles are CO2 pipelines – – currently the most in the world. The vast majority, above 90%, of CO2 pipelines are used for enhanced oil recovery. At least 80% of CO2 in the pipes comes from high pressure, high purity natural geological underground domes. The 5,100 miles of CO2 pipelines include the Cortez (502 miles), Sheep Mountain (408 miles) and Bravo (218 miles). The rest of the pipelines are around 100 miles or less each.

This article is to support County Commissions that are doing the right thing to protect their Citizens. I urge other Counties to follow the lead of Brown, Spink and McPherson Counties. Landowners need to be informed of these issues before they sign any agreement.

—Jamie Fisk, Tulare


  1. LCJ 2023-11-30

    Probably the best written piece I can recall reading on this site. Well done.

  2. Nix 2023-11-30

    I would just add…
    P. S.
    Dan Lederman can kiss my ass.

  3. sx123 2023-11-30

    ‘They’ are are now trying to get permits to sequester CO2 under national forests. Anyone read about that?

  4. e platypus onion 2023-11-30

    There are years of archived columns written by Master for you to peruse, LCJ. Have at it and have a blast.

  5. Frank Kloucek 2023-11-30

    Jaimie says it like it is!

  6. DaveFN 2023-11-30

    Pedantic note:

    Names of chemical elements and compounds (eg., “carbon monoxide”) are not capitalized.

  7. Sally Jo 2023-11-30


  8. e platypus onion 2023-11-30

    Serious Qs that need to be answered before lines are built, including the need to keep ethanol competitive with Calif when they are going to all EV in a few years.

    Then there are the pumping stations requiring massive amounts of electricity to be purchased locally and whether this stuff in a pipeline is as safe as the corporation claims it is. Each pump station will require millions of gallons of aquifer water to cool the pipelines.

  9. grudznick 2023-11-30

    Fellows!!! This is urgent. Tally’s is in danger of being crushed! Please, if you are one of those god fearing fellows, do your praying, and if you are a weather-person, please report if the wind might be strong and from the north and/or west for some time.

    Tally’s is in danger!

  10. Bob Newland 2023-11-30

    I hope grudznutz is hanging out in Tally’s when it’s crushed.

  11. KOREY V. JACKSON 2023-12-01

    A few points that detract from the overall argument:

    The author states “This CO2 does not come from the combustion engine (that is CO Carbon Monoxide).”
    Internal combustion engines do produce CO2. Roughly 99% of tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions is CO2.

    The author states: “Oil and Natural Gas leaks are easily contained and cleaned up. CO2 is an asphyxiant, (killing any people or animals). It would look like a fog as it is heavier than air. Anyone entering the cloud would need to wear a respirator.”
    To the contrary, oil and natural gas pipeline leaks are not easily contained and cleaned up, are combustible, and also require appropriate PPE, often necessitating respirators or SCBA.

    An associated question: what are the counties and the state doing to reduce their overall emissions of greenhouse gases, including CO2?

  12. larry kurtz 2023-12-01

    Good grief, Tara. RFK, Jr. is a delusional addict planted by the Kochs as a chaos agent.

  13. KOREY V. JACKSON 2023-12-01

    Another question: What is the scientific basis for the author’s recommended setback distance?

    Should there not be a standard or methodology for pipeline safety setbacks, depending on hazardous material, pipeline diameter, temperature, pressure, volume, and desired safety level, location of shutoff valves, and assessing with standard local geography and atmospheric conditions.

    The setback distance impacts not only the initial pipeline route, but also future construction of residences, schools, industrial areas, etc.

    Shouldn’t the safety setback distance for a 4″ pipeline and for a 24″ pipeline be different?

  14. larry kurtz 2023-12-02

    Republican is simply another word for Earth hater so because of failures to control invasive grasses and eastern red cedar the grassland fire danger index will be in the high and very high categories again tomorrow for much of the red moocher state of South Dakota.

  15. Jamie Fisk 2023-12-07

    Many missed the points in the editorial. This CO2 is only coming from Ethanol plants, Other sources are NOT included in this project. CO2 does come from combustion engines, that is a true statement Korey Jackson. SCS is not taking CO2 from the atmosphere. This entire project is for the 45Q tax money. The Federal government guidelines for depth, and setback are NOT current for CO2 pipelines. Main point of the article was to get the citizens of every county in South Dakota to have their counties enact ordinances to route ANY CO2 pipeline being built in SD. The public needs to wake up as to what is happening in the state.

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