Hundreds rally in Pierre against eminent domain for carbon pipelines

PIERRE,  South Dakota — About 250 people descended on the South Dakota State Capitol on Thursday, demanding a prohibition against carbon capture pipeline companies gaining access to land against a landowner’s will.

Lawmakers, landowners and concerned citizens from across the political spectrum called on Republican Gov. Kristi Noem to call a special legislative session to address the issue. She did not attend the rally.

“Governor Noem, you say you stand with us,” said rally speaker Ed Fischbach, an Aberdeen-area farmer whose land is near a proposed pipeline route. “We need your actions to speak louder than your words.”

The rally comes amid a heated public debate over the expansion of carbon capture pipeline infrastructure.

Two pipelines that would pass through eastern South Dakota and multiple other states, including Nebraska, are designed to transport captured carbon dioxide produced at ethanol plants to underground storage sites in North Dakota and Illinois. The aim is to combat climate change by removing carbon from the atmosphere, where it traps heat. The projects are eligible for billions of dollars in federal tax credits, and could allow ethanol producers to sell their products in places with restrictive emissions standards.

However, critics argue that the use of a court process called “eminent domain” — which one of the pipeline companies is already pursuing, to gain land access from dozens of unwilling landowners — is a violation of property rights.