South Dakota landowners protest proposed CO2 pipeline

Carbon dioxide pipeline critic and farmer, Mark Lapka, of Leola, speaks during a rally at the South Dakota Capitol in Pierre on Jan. 8, 2024. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)


Nearly 200 farmers, ranchers and landowners defied winter weather this week to gather at the state Capitol in South Dakota to protest what might happen to their rights and land because of a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline.

They demanded greater property rights protection and local control.

“Let’s keep the local control in the hands of the citizens that know their local communities best,” Ed Fischbach, a farmer from rural Aberdeen, told the crowd reported the South Dakota Searchlight.

They rallied a day before Gov. Kristi Noem was slated to deliver her annual State of the State Address to the state legislature.

The landowners demanded that lawmakers pass a law stopping the pipeline company from using “eminent domain” to gain access to their land.

“At the state level, we should talk about setbacks,” the organization’s co-founder, Rob Skjonsberg, told South Dakota Searchlight last year. “You could end up with a complete hodgepodge of setback distances. And if you’re a company, how do you deal with that? It’s nonsense.”

The project in question is a pipeline proposed by Summit Carbon Solutions of Iowa, which wants to collect carbon dioxide emissions from more than two dozen ethanol plants. The CO2 would be transported by pipelinle for storage in North Dakota.

However, the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission denied a permit to Summit last year, explaining there were too many problems regarding conflicts with county setback ordinances.