Carbon dioxide pipeline has easements for more than half the route through Minnehaha County

Summit Carbon Solutions plans to begin construction in August. Several landowners opposed to the project said they will continue fighting.

Summit pipeline route 011723.PNG
The proposed route of the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline through southeast South Dakota.
Contributed / Summit Carbon Solutions

SIOUX FALLS — As a proposed, controversial multi-state carbon dioxide pipeline aims for an August construction start, landowners expressed concerns to Minnehaha County commissioners at their meeting Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Safety concerns were the main topic of discussion, although a few landowners were upset with what they called “unscrupulous” attempts to obtain easements from the Summit Carbon Solutions company representatives.

The company’s Kaylee Langrell also appeared and provided an update on the easements obtained so far and extra steps being proposed to improve safety.

County Commissioner Dean Karsky said the county “didn’t have power in this struggle” as it concerns permitting, although Langrell said they were working with the county on roadway crossing issues.

Most of the permitting will instead be with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission and on the federal level with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Fish and Wildlife Service with regulations established by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.


Langrell said some of the extra safety precautions being established were an increase in the depth of the 6-inch pipeline from the currently required 3 feet underground to at least 4 feet, more lengthy setbacks from dwellings currently at 50 feet and a continuous leak detection system with 100% examinations of all welds on the pipeline instead of 10%.

Langrell said easements on 51% of the 27.6 miles of the pipeline that would run through the far western part of the county have been obtained. On the state level, 451 landowners have signed agreements on more than 264 miles.

Some landowners at the meeting told commissioners they weren’t going to sign any easements.

  • Dennis Jones of rural Sioux Falls said he “wasn’t giving up” his fight against the project, saying he didn’t want the land his family has farmed for 90 years to be “ruined.”
  • Kay Burkhart of Valley Springs talked about an explosion in Missouri in 2020 and also urged the commissioners to carefully look at the pipeline regulations and to “look at ordinances to protect farmers” that have been here for generations.
  • Karen Jones, who called the company representatives “unscrupulous” in how they worked with her 101-year-old mother on an easement, said carbon dioxide in the condensed form in a pipeline can be dangerous.
  • Don Klassen of rural Harrisburg also told the commissioners that a rupture in the pipeline could “jeopardize the lives of thousands” of residents as it passes through Lincoln and Minnehaha counties.

The issue has divided farmers, however, as 32 ethanol plants that buy their corn across South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska have signed onto the project in hopes of staying more competitive in the growing number of markets that pay more for low-carbon fuels.
The pipeline would carry the carbon dioxide releases from the plants to North Dakota where it would be permanently buried.

The pipeline would run west of Hartford in Minnehaha County exiting in the extreme northwest corner of the county into Lake County.

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