Brian Jorde Quoted on South Dakota PUC Moving Summit Carbon Solutions Pipeline Hearing to September

Brian Jorde Quoted on South Dakota PUC Moving Summit Carbon Solutions Pipeline Hearing to September

Domina Law Group Managing Lawyer Brian Jorde was recently featured in print and radio media discussing a decision by the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission to move an evidentiary hearing over Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed carbon pipeline to later this year.

As reported by KELOLAND News, the Mitchell Daily Republic, the Argus Leader, and WNAX radio, the three-commissioner panel voted on Thursday, January 5 in support of affected landowners to move an evidentiary hearing scheduled for April-May to mid-September.

The move poses yet another hurdle for Summit Carbon Solutions as it faces a tight schedule to commence and complete construction of its controversial 2,000-mile pipeline, 500 miles of which would run through South Dakota. To qualify for sizeable federal tax credits, Summit would need to begin construction by January 1, 2026.

The PUC’s decision is also the product of efforts from Domina Law Group Managing Lawyer Brian Jorde, who represents landowners along the proposed pipeline route. As we previously reported on our blog, Jorde and landowners opposed the previous schedule, which called for the evidentiary hearing to take place during preparations for peak planting season.

Attorneys for Summit Carbon Solutions expressed disappointment with the latest decision, arguing that a state law requires the commission to reach a decision on a transmission pipeline within a year of the application. However, the law also says the commission can extend the deadline upon request, which Summit did in June of 2022 after filing its initial application in February 2022.

As Jorde told KELOLAND News, the driving force behind the extension was Summit’s own efforts to seek an extension, prompted by what he argues was Summit’s failure to follow the law on notifying landowners along the route.

“The only reason we’re here is because they weren’t able to get their work done. They have a series of problems all to their own making,” Jorde told KELOLAND. “Summit did that for whatever reason and now the commission can extend the deadlines to whatever it wants.”

The evidentiary hearing now scheduled for September is a critical part of the permitting process for Summit’s proposed carbon pipeline, which has been vehemently opposed by landowners with concerns about the impact to farmland, health and safety, and property rights issues. That process begins with testimony and rebuttal over several weeks, a waiting period of at least 10 days, and the evidentiary hearing and post-hearing briefs. Following the hearing and briefs, the PUC will then issue a decision to grant the permit, grant the permit with conditions, or deny it entirely.

As Attorney Brian Jorde and fellow advocates prepare for the consequential hearing later this year, the focus will remain on challenging the constitutionality of allowing private companies to abuse eminent domain as a means of making immense profits from privately owned land.

You can read the full KELOLAND News article featuring quotes from Brian Jorde here.