Moratorium to slow Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline still an option for Brown Co. Commission

ABERDEEN, S.D.(Aberdeen American News)- Brown County commissioners will continue to monitor the possibility of enacting a moratorium that would essentially halt Summit Carbon Solutions work in the county.

That was a major takeaway from Tuesday’s regular commission meeting at the Brown County Courthouse.

During the meeting, a landowner asked the commission approve a moratorium on Summit’s construction until new planning and zoning ordinances can be put in place and noted the company’s survey work.

Summit has applied for a permit with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission to construct a pipeline through several South Dakota counties. Carbon dioxide emissions from 32 ethanol plants in five states would be sequestered underground in North Dakota to reduce carbon emissions. That would allow the ethanol plants to sell their product in states with low carbon fuel standards. Seven ethanol plants in South Dakota have signed onto the project.

The pipeline would be more than 2,000 miles and cost an estimated $4.5 billion.

Some counties, including McPherson, have already enacted moratoriums. Chairman Duane Sutton said Brown County will continue to stay in contact with the PUC and monitor the situation, noting that there still is a lot to figure out.

Sutton said passing a year-long moratorium might already be a moot point since the PUC has extended Summit’s deadline indefinitely.

Brown County Deputy State’s Attorney Ross Aldentaler added that the county has been advised not to enact a moratorium because they are not enforceable. Not much can be done at the county level due to the fact that pipelines are governed by federal regulations, said Aldentaler.

Commissioner Denis Feickert expressed interest in enacting a moratorium in order to at least show the PUC that the county is concerned about the project.