Navigator's application for pipeline permit in South Dakota rejected
Public Utilities Commission unanimous in decision
The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission has denied Navigator Heartland Greenway a permit to build a pipeline through five counties in eastern South Dakota.
In a monumental win for South Dakota landowners battling against eminent domain powers for carbon sequestration pipelines, the three-member commission voted unanimously Wednesday to reject the application of Texas-based Navigator, citing potential safety hazards and uncertain economic impacts.
“Not all pipelines are created equal,” said Commissioner Gary Hanson, who along with his colleagues sat through 11 days of testimony on the planned pipeline last month. “There are some important differences between pipelines that should not be ignored. CO2 is a unique, hazardous gas.”
Navigator CO2, developed and managed by Navigator Energy Services, submitted their application to the commission a year ago, and has conducted a vigorous campaign to bring skeptical landowners and county governments on board.
Commissioners, though, said Navigator didn’t do enough and has fallen short in garnering enough landowner support.
“70 percent of landowners have not signed onto this,” said Commissioner Kristie Fiegen, pointing to Navigator’s reluctance to release plume model data, which would show where carbon dioxide is likely to spread in the event of a leak.
Fiegen made the motion to deny the permit for Navigator, one of two companies pursuing carbon sequestration pipeline permits in South Dakota. The projects have drawn a spotlight onto eminent domain rights. They’ve also prompted concerned landowners to organize.
“Navigator seemed to be tone deaf to these outcries, and numb to people’s fears,” Hanson said. “Navigator disregards the concerns of others and focuses on their own needs.”
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