South Dakota PUC denies Navigator pipeline permit

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission votes unanimously to deny a permit for the construction of the proposed Navigator carbon capture pipeline. Some 112 miles of the 1200-mile line would run to three ethanol plants in Eastern South Dakota, including the Valero plant at Aurora.

PUC Chair Kristie Fiegan says she questions Navigator’s ability to follow South Dakota regulations. Fiegen noted that Navigator sought a PUC exemption from Moody and Minnehaha County setback ordinances “well before they have even tried to work with the counties.” She also said she was concerned with Navigator’s objections to questions from PUC staff.

Commissioner Gary Hanson says Navigator never addressed possible financial hardships for landowners on the proposed route.

Commissioner Chris Nelson believes the pipeline would be safe, but it would still cause issues for those along the route. He noted the large number of landowners who refused to grant easements for the pipeline even though they would have been paid for it.

Navigator can appeal portions of the Commission’s decision.

Brian Jorde, an attorney for South Dakota landowners opposed to pipelines, hopes Navigator will drop the South Dakota leg of the project.

Hearings on a second pipeline, proposed by Summit Carbon Solutions, begin next week.


September 7, 2023


September 7, 2023