Decision looms by Sept. 6 on pipeline permit, overruling counties

The Public Utilities Commission will decide at a later date whether it will overrule county zoning officials on behalf of a carbon pipeline company.

Friday marked the second day of a two-day hearing in Pierre on the question of county authority, brought by  Navigator CO2 Ventures, the company behind one of two proposed carbon pipelines that might pass through South Dakota.

Navigator wants commissioners to shoot down county-level restrictions on pipeline construction its representatives say are untenable. On the first day, a Navigator official named Monica Howard said the rules in Minnehaha and Moody counties represent uniquely targeted attempts to scuttle pipeline projects that backers see as critical to the future of the Midwest’s ethanol industry. Howard testified that the county ordinances amount to 11th-hour rule changes to the permitting process.