Clayton Rentschler was fired up.
The rural Egan resident, who has been helping to lead the charge to educate locals on the new and controversial carbon capture pipeline that is slated to run through Moody County if approved, was expecting surveyors to be out on his family’s land this past week. Increasingly, Moody County residents along the pipeline’s proposed route report seeing survey teams on their land — uninvited.
Thursday morning though, he got a call.
“They will not be surveying dad’s land,” he told the Moody County Enterprise, adding that his stress level had just gone down exponentially. “They found out we had Domina Law hired.”
Domina Law is the company representing an increasing number of landowners who might be affected by the proposed C02 pipeline in what is called the South Dakota Easement Team. Hundreds along the proposed Summit and Navigator lines have signed with the company, according to attorney Brian Jorde. The firm is promising legal representation as a whole for individual property owners.
Jorde knows this kind of fight well. He previously represented landowners opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline.
Carbon capture technology, for those unfamiliar yet with what is being proposed in separate projects across the state and region, promises to “provide biofuel producers and other industrial customers with a long-term and cost-effective means to reduce their carbon footprint.” That is what Heartland Greenway/Navigator C02 states on its website. In other words, it’s one way local companies hope to meet environmental goals of reducing their carbon footprint.
But questions remain — will the technology actually do what it claims, will the byproduct actually be stored or used for other purposes (oil fields), is it safe (Satartia, Mississippi), can this happen even if a landowner opposes it on their property, why will taxpayers largely fund the work (Inflation Reduction Act), and will any of this be relevant by the time it is scheduled to be operational, which in Navigator’s case, appears to be early 2025?
Public hearings on the matter are required by state law. Those hearings, hosted by the state Public Utilities Commission, are this week. The first was in Canton on Monday. A hearing is scheduled in Flandreau on Tuesday, Nov 22 at 11:30. A final hearing will be held in Sioux Falls that same evening at 5:30.
Will your property be among those within a quarter mile of the proposed pipeline? How Moody County is working to inform landowners of their proximity to the route in a future Enterprise.