PUC staff calls for denial of state permit for Summit Carbon Solution pipeline

PIERRE, S.D. (KELOLAND) — The lead staff attorney for the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission formally requested Friday that the commission deny the application from SCS Carbon Solutions for a state permit for a proposed carbon-dioxide pipeline.

Attorney Kristen Edwards filed a motion that said the project no longer could meet all applicable laws and rules. Her request came one day after SCS withdrew its request that the commission pre-empt pipeline ordinances in several counties.

“It is an undisputable fact is that the proposed route currently violates county ordinances in
Brown, McPherson, Minnehaha, and Spink counties. Unless and until Summit can obtain
waivers or conditional use permits where applicable in order to bring the route into compliance, a permit cannot be granted,” Edwards stated in the motion.

The hearing on the SCS permit is scheduled to start Monday in Fort Pierre.

The commission on Wednesday had unanimously rejected the permit application from Navigator for a CO2 pipeline.

The commission that day also refused Navigator’s request that the state commission pre-empt pipeline ordinances passed by Minnehaha and Moody counties. Watching that decision from the back row of the Capitol meeting room were Pierre attorneys Brett Koenecke and Cody Honeywell, who are representing SCS in South Dakota.

In her motion Friday, Edwards added that denial wouldn’t be fatal to the SCS project.

“Rather, it provides Applicant with an opportunity to work with the counties and landowners and refile at such time as Applicant has determined a way to comply with county ordinances or has obtained necessary waivers or local permits such that the route would not be in violation,” she wrote.

“Further, if Applicant fails to obtain compliance at the county level and suffers a realized injury under that process, they can renew their preemption request under 49-41B-28 once they refile. SDCL 49-41B-13 provides that ‘[t]he commission shall, upon denying or returning an application, provide the applicant with reasons for such action and shall allow the applicant to make changes in the application in order to comply with the requirements of this chapter.’” she continued. “Therefore, the necessary, logical, and judicially efficient thing to do is for the Application to be denied without prejudice at this time and afford Applicant the opportunity to cure the existing conflict with county ordinances and refile its Application.”