RAPID CITY, S.D. (Press Release) – In the wake of a recent explosion at the Onida-based Ringneck Energy ethanol plant, the South Dakota Freedom Caucus (SDFC) raises concerns over the proposed Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline, which has partnerships with ethanol plants like Ringneck Energy. The SDFC is urgently calling on Governor Kristi Noem to declare a state of emergency and implement a moratorium on any CO2 pipeline activity until the safety of such pipelines can be assured. The Caucus highlights the lack of a safety plan for the proposed pipeline, the unclear applicability of current South Dakota pipeline safety laws to carbon pipelines, and the ongoing updates to federal regulations in response to safety concerns.
As concerned citizens mobilize to protect South Dakota’s property rights and safety, the South Dakota Freedom Caucus has launched a petition page on sdfreedomcaucus.com. The page provides a platform for citizens to express their support for the declaration of emergency and the convening of a special legislative session, urging Governor Noem to take immediate action.
“The explosion at Ringneck Energy underscores the potential dangers associated with energy infrastructure, highlighting the need for robust safety plans and clear regulatory frameworks,” stated Representative Tony Randolph, Vice-Chair of the South Dakota Freedom Caucus. “We urge all concerned citizens to visit sdfreedomcaucus.com, sign the petition, and join our collective efforts to protect our land and our communities.”
The SDFC also draws attention to the absence of a safety plan submitted for the proposed Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline, as revealed in PUC filings (docket HP22-001). Additionally, the applicability of South Dakota pipeline safety laws, specifically SDCL § 49-34B, to carbon pipelines remains uncertain. This ambiguity underscores the urgency of addressing potential safety gaps and ensuring the protection of South Dakota citizens.
In response to safety concerns surrounding carbon dioxide pipelines, the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) under the Federal Department of Transportation has been updating its rules. The incident in Sataria, MS, where a CO2 pipeline explosion occurred in 2020, leading to numerous hospitalizations and a local evacuation, has raised serious concerns about insufficient safety precautions and regulations for hazard zones around CO2 releases.
“To prioritize public safety, a CO2 pipeline moratorium until finalized safety regulations are in place is a prudent step forward,” emphasized Representative Tina Mulally, Treasurer of the South Dakota Freedom Caucus. “We encourage all citizens to join us in demanding action by signing the petition on sdfreedomcaucus.com. Together, we can ensure the well-being of our communities and protect our property rights.”
Given these pressing concerns, the South Dakota Freedom Caucus is urgently calling for Governor Noem to declare an emergency, impose a moratorium on all CO2 pipeline activity and convene a special legislative session. The Caucus seeks immediate action to address safety gaps, protect citizens from potential harm, and ensure that comprehensive safety plans are in place before any further development of the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline.