Landowners get chance to testify against pipeline in front of PUC

Taking the stand for the first time, landowners voiced concerns for safety and a drop in property value in front of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.

After a week of testimony and cross-examination, landowners took the stand Tuesday in Navigator CO2’s pipeline hearing.

State Rep. Karla Lems was the first landowner to testify. The Canton Republican was the prime sponsor of multiple pipeline-related bills last legislative session.

Lems’ bills were unsuccessful, but her push against pipelines continued into her testimony against Navigator’s pipeline. She said it is her duty to listen to the public.

“When I go to public hearings, and commission meetings, and all of these kinds of things, like I said before. Nobody’s in an uproar about natural gas, or water, or electric, we all understand we need those things,” Lems said. “This is a different cat, if you will, and one of the big factors with this specifically is safety.”    

Navigator has been hesitant in producing pipeline safety information to the public. Rick Bonander is a landowner and testified to the public’s need for information.