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Pipeline official, adversarial lawmaker agree to debate in Brookings
Jon Hansen and Elizabeth Burns-Thompson will participate in 'Property Rights & CO2 Pipeline Debate'
A South Dakota lawmaker on the frontlines of ongoing calls for eminent domain reform will square off in a debate with the spokeswoman for one of two companies planning carbon pipeline projects here.
Rep. Jon Hansen, an attorney from Dell Rapids who has been among the most vocal opponents of carbon capture pipelines being eligible for eminent domain, will join Navigator’s vice president of government and public affairs, Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, in a 60 minute debate at the Dacotah Bank Event Center in Brookings on Aug. 22.
Hosted by the South Dakota Federation of Republican Women and the Sioux River Republican Women, the debate will be moderated by Sara Frankenstein, public relations chair of SDFRW and a Rapid City attorney who served as special counsel to the Legislature’s state House impeachment committee in 2021 and 2022 involving then-Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.
“We aim to offer an open and respectful exchange of ideas on one of the most pressing issues of our time, and our goal is to provide a platform for informed discussions that will help our community better understand the complexities of these critical matters,” said Karri Wagner, president of Sioux River Republican Women. “The goal of the debate is not to suggest which position is ‘good’ or ‘better’ – the goal is simply to allow both sides to speak directly to the public and explain their side’s position.”
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Both Hansen and Burns-Thompson say they agreed to the forum because the public wants answers about carbon sequestration projects that have dominated South Dakota news cycles for nearly a year.
“Outreach and communication are a critical part of project development, and I'm looking forward to the event and the opportunity to continue the conversation locally,” Burns-Thompson said.
Hansen said he appreciates the opportunity and the willingness of Navigator to accept a debate invitation that other pipeline companies turned down.
“The more South Dakotans learn about this, the more they see that this is an abuse of eminent domain and a threat to South Dakota private property rights,” he said.
The Dakota Scout is also a partner in organizing the debate, which will mirror rules that governed the lone gubernatorial debate during the 2022 election cycle between Democratic Party nominee Jamie Smith and Gov. Kristi Noem.