Carbon pipelines facing first major test
PUC opens hearings into less controversial pipeline proposal
FORT PIERRE – A hearing before the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will determine the future of carbon pipelines in South Dakota.
The three-member board of the state’s PUC met for the first time Tuesday to determine whether or not to grant a permit to the Navigator Heartland Greenway carbon pipeline project.
Debate about whether to allow the pipeline will rage until commissioners ultimately make a decision about granting the permit sometime in early September. Tuesday was the starting day for what will be several days of hearings.
Much of the first day’s debate centered around a series of objections from both sides about what witnesses and evidence should be available to the panel over the course of the hearings.
“Obviously the matter in front of us is a huge matter for this state,” Commissioner Chris Nelson said in his opening remarks. “This is not our first pipeline hearing . . . we are here to try the case in front of us.”
The Navigator pipeline is one of two carbon pipelines currently working to obtain permits so that it can make its way through South Dakota. But phase one of Navigator’s proposal is nearly one-fifth as long as the proposed Summit Carbon Solutions (SCS) pipeline.
All together, the Navigator pipeline would be almost 112 miles and pass through five South Dakota counties, with plans to expand its reach down the line.
The carbon would be moved to an underground storage site in central Illinois.
“You don’t have the geological layers here (in South Dakota) to be able to bury the carbon on site,” explained Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, vice president of government and public affairs with Navigator CO2. “We will have a network of well sites in central Illinois, and we are working through the EPA process to get those permitted.”
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