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Navigator CO2 makes its emergency response plan public

A sign for a carbon dioxide pipeline in Satartia, Miss. There are now about 5,300 miles of CO2 pipelines in the U.S., but in the next few decades, that number could grow to more than 65,000 miles.
Julia Simon

A previously confidential emergency response plan for Navigator CO2’s carbon pipeline application is now public knowledge.

That’s the latest development out of an ongoing PUC hearing to determine whether to allow the pipeline to be built in South Dakota.

Navigator moved Tuesday to withdraw the confidentiality of its emergency response plan for their pipeline in South Dakota.

This allowed attorneys and PUC commissioners an opportunity to publicly address the plan.

PUC staff said they requested the plan in April. They didn’t receive it until July.

Vidal Rosa is the Senior Vice President of Operations for Navigator CO2 Ventures. He said that Navigator took their time producing the report due to its confidentiality and complexity.

“As we are rolling out our emergency response plan, you’ll get more detail on that. But we are open to make this work. So long that the safety of everyone, you know, everyone along the footprint. The public, our employees, everyone is at the top piece of what we are looking for," said Rosa. "So if it means we gotta put on two different organizations for call outs, so be it. If we are working with the states or local counties, so be it. We are going to make it work one way or another.”

A copy of the emergency response plan wasn't immediately available online following the meeting.

Kristie Fiegen is the Chairperson for the PUC. She challenged Rosa’s claim that Navigator is concerned with the safety of South Dakotans.

“So if safety is at the very top, why aren’t there buffer zones to residential living, or residential homes, that adhere to the safest, top distance from being away from a carbon pipeline?” Fiegen said.

Fiegen also voiced disappointment that emergency responders in Illinois were provided with a presentation of Navigator’s emergency response plan ahead of South Dakota.

Brain Jorde is an attorney representing landowners. He asked Rosa which part of Navigator’s plan is designed to support the safety for landowners.

Rosa said Navigator’s responsibility is simply to educate landowners. He also said Navigator will provide monitors that detect chemicals like CO2 to landowners who request them.

“So I think that the right response here is, you know, if we need to commit to getting monitors, then let's commit to getting monitors,” said Rosa.

PUC commissioners will continue to hear testimony until the end of the week.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.