Tomorrow, the Minnehaha County Commission has an ordinance up in front of them as they host a public hearing on pipeline policy brought about and specifically targeted at the CO2 pipelines being brought by the Navigator pipeline people, and more specifically the Summit Carbon pipeline, both of which are transporting carbon dioxide to North Dakota for sequestration in the ground.
Currently, the CO2 is released in the atmosphere on the site of ethanol production. But economic realities are such that purchasers are passing legislation and/or just flat demanding carbon neutrality in what they buy, closing markets to producers who just pump it into the air. The markets where they are able to sell are starting to dwindle, making South Dakota’s homegrown energy products less and less salable.
This would potentially set up a drastic situation for ag producers, as they would see one of the strongest markets for grain in the state collapse over the next few years, as this market fights for survival.
The producer’s solution was simple.. put it back into the ground, which works for the purposes of their market. And so based on the laws currently in place, they are constructing a pipeline to do so, following the existing rules, procedures and laws for pipelines.
Yet, as with anything, there are opponents. Opponents of the ethanol market who claim they’re not against ethanol.. but they’re doing everything they can to negatively impact the producer’s ability to sell it.
It’s a tale as old as time itself.
There are, and have always been those opposed to progress. There were those who were opposed to moving away from steam power to electrification. There are those who were opposed to bringing telephone lines. There are those were opposed to cable TV. There were (and are) those opposed to dropping fiber op cables for world-wide connectivity.
One of the latest we’ve seen in the state – after campaigns for green energy – have been battles over wind towers.
I don’t know that we’ve seen so many in South Dakota, but there are those who are vehemently opposed to solar power..
“Your letter to support the solar farm, when a majority of the citizens of Williamsport oppose it, makes you a disgrace to your position,” Weaver said. “Time to hang it up, buddy.”
Rather than argue, Elliott moved on to the next person who wanted to speak. Weaver sat down. The tension eased.
There are always those who are opposed to progress. They might at times be a vocal minority, but they have and they will always be with us.
Change is scary to a lot of people, and some of the most reactionary among us will do anything they can to try to stop progress.
The important thing for leaders to recognize that we are a nation of laws, and of fair play. And that when someone follows all the rules, dots the i’s and crosses the t’s, they should be allowed to advance down the field.
The City of Sioux Falls recently had an entire election over a group trying to bring ag production to Sioux falls in the form of a packing plant. They dotted the i’s, and crossed the t’s. And yet there were those who fought to stop it… it went so far it came to an initiated vote.
But that vote failed. And it did so on a message that the initiated “ordinance changes the rules in the middle of the game. That’s not right.” And that “the group behind the Slaughterhouse Ordinance intends to change those rules four years into the process.”
If the City of Sioux Falls could recognize that it was wholly unfair that an initiated ordinance could change the rules in the middle of the process, how is it any different that Minnehaha County is proposing to do the same to those who have been following the rules on CO2 pipelines? As the ethanol industry attempts to move forward and survive?
Minnehaha County needs to ignore the shouting opponents to progress and not change the board in the middle of the process. Commissioners need to let the current rules stand.