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Lincoln County looks forward with proposed CO2 advisory board

The Lincoln County Courthouse building in Canton, South Dakota
The Lincoln County Courthouse building in Canton, South Dakota

The cancelation of the Navigator pipeline does not mean the end of the wider CO2 debate. One county wants to get ahead of the curve and establish a committee solely to advise on CO2 pipelines into the future.

Navigator was meant to cut right through Lincoln County in southeast South Dakota. County commissioners met this week to consider the proposed advisory council.

Overall, there wasn’t major debate on the matter and the proposal was lauded as forward-thinking by residents like Betty Ott. Though she wasn’t without questions.

“Chair, I want to thank you for bringing this forward, I think it’s very proactive for what’s going on," Ott said. "There was, I think, a pipeline person supposed to be appointed on this committee. I’m not sure, but with no pipeline company before the PUC I was wondering why they should have a seat at the table.”

The proposed seven-seat, ad hoc council would in fact include at least some representation from pipeline companies. Commission chair Tiffani Landeen said they deserve a seat at the table.

“I don’t know who, if anyone is actually going to want to be on it from the industry – I think they have valuable information to share," Landeen said. "I think someone from the industry would be a good person to have on this to have that discussion.”

However, some residents like Ernest Stratmeyer remain unconvinced.

“There’s nothing they’ve done that shows they’re trying to get along with the people or cooperate," Stratmeyer said. "There’s nothing that the CO2 pipeline is doing for the community. There’s no reason to have somebody that’s not a resident on a committee to try to make ordinance for our area and our citizens.”

An amendment was proposed to make the pipeline companies seat non-voting. No action was taken at this time, and a new draft is expected next week.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture