Minnehaha County pipeline ordinance delayed after split amendment vote

After more than three hours of testimony between state representatives, farmers, ethanol plant owners and carbon pipeline companies, Minnehaha County commissioners must wait another two weeks to decide if an ordinance meant to bring pipelines under county oversight will come to fruition.

Minnehaha County Board of Commissioners were forced to delay a final vote on Ordinance MC16-179-23, an ordinance amendment that creates new regulations and processes on transmission pipelines ― including pipelines used for carbon sequestration ― to a June 6 commission meeting.

The Minnehaha County Commission has heard arguments for nearly a year over carbon pipelines. In this file photo, a group of over 20 residents listening in on Minnehaha County Commission's discussion considering a twelve-month moratorium on pipelines, just weeks after Brown County approved a similar moratorium to halt Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solution's permitting process for their planned CO2 pipeline on Tuesday, August 2, 2022.

The proposed ordinance amendment would institute various setbacks on pipelines in the county. Companies seeking to build a pipeline in the county would also have to apply for a permitted special use with the county's office of planning and zoning, which would weigh their application based on new setback criteria included in the ordinance.

Residential homes, churches and businesses would be allotted a 750-foot setback from the center line of a pipeline to the location's property line. Pipelines would also have to maintain a 1,000-foot separation from public parks and schools, while municipal setbacks would vary from half a mile to one mile based on population.

Companies would also be able to apply for a conditional use permit if a permitted special use is not allotted by the planning and zoning office.

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Summit Carbon Solutions and Navigator CO2 Ventures, two companies with plans to build what would be the nation's largest pipeline system in South Dakota and four other Midwest states, would be impacted by the ordinance.

Commissioner Joe Kippley brought three amendments to the ordinance, which were discussed by the board, one of which prevented the final vote on the entire ordinance.

The most controversial proposed amendment reduced the minimum setback for residential areas to 330 feet. According to this amendment, measurements would also begin at the point of the physical structure closest to a proposed pipeline, which would potentially further truncate any setbacks.

More: Some South Dakota farmers resent ethanol industry’s push for carbon pipelines

A motion to amend the ordinance was split in an equal 2-2 vote. Because of the tie vote, the decision on the amendment is unresolved and prevented the commission from making a final vote on the ordinance as a whole.

Another amendment, which passed unanimously, extends the application deadline on transmission pipelines from seven to 30 days and grants the planning director more power to oversee the application. It also places a 30-day response deadline on the county.

The third amendment, which would remove an annual conditional use permit fee of $300 per linear mile of pipeline in the ordinance, with fees going to county's general fund, failed for lack of a second.

Dominik Dausch is the agriculture and environment reporter for the Argus Leader and editor of Farm Forum. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook @DomDNP and send news tips to ddausch@gannett.com

This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Minnehaha County pipeline ordinance delayed after split amendment vote