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‘No, Thank You’: Red State Regulators Reject Green Pipeline Opposed By Many Rural Landowners

South Dakota regulators voted unanimously Wednesday against granting a permit to a company building a carbon pipeline in the state, local outlets reported.

The three commissioners of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (SDPUC) voted to deny Navigator CO2’s permit application for the project, which had faced blowback from locals and landowners that would be affected by its construction, according to Keloland, a local outlet. The SDPUC found that the company did not adequately demonstrate certain standards of proof to justify approving the permit for the carbon capture and storage (CCS) project, and the concerns of landowners also prompted the commissioners to deny the permit, they said in statements before the vote became official, according to Dakota News Now.

“Perhaps most telling to me are the percentage of landowners who have made conscious decisions to say, ‘No, thank you,’ to the money offered for this event because they’re not willing to trade their welfare for dollars and cents,” said Chris Nelson, a SDPUC commissioner, according to Dakota News Now.

Navigator can still reapply for the permit, and the docket for this matter may not be closed for several months, according to Dakota News Now. The company hoped to build the pipeline in order to transfer captured carbon from three of its ethanol facilities and sequester it underground in Illinois, according to South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

CCS technology “involves the capture of carbon dioxide emissions from industrial processes, such as steel and cement production, or from the burning of fossil fuels in power generation,” which “is then transported from where it was produced, via ship or in a pipeline, and stored deep underground in geological formations,” according to NationalGrid. The planned Navigator pipeline is also set to run through Iowa en route to Illinois, according to Navigator’s webpage for the project.

“Think of a daily mindset of landowners. Is there a leak? Will I know? How can I protect my family?,” SDPUC Chairperson Kristie Fiegen said, according to Dakota News Now.

A spokesperson for the SDPUC referred the Daily Caller News Foundation to an audio recording of Wednesday’s meeting, and stated that “The commission voted unanimously to deny the application of Navigator Heartland Greenway, LLC for a permit under the South Dakota Energy Conversion and Transmission Facilities Act to construct the Heartland Greenway Pipeline in South Dakota.

“While we are disappointed with the recent decision to deny our permit application in South Dakota, our company remains committed to responsible infrastructure development,” Navigator said in a statement issued Wednesday. “We will evaluate the written decision of the Public Utilities Commission once issued and determine our course of action in South Dakota thereafter. Our commitment to environmental stewardship and safety remains unwavering, and we will continue to pursue our permitting processes in the other regions we operate in.”

Navigator did not respond immediately to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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