South Dakota's Property Rights Showdown: GOP Pushes 'Green' Pipeline Over Local Control, Where Does Kristi Noem Stand?

By Lisa Pelgin | Tuesday, 20 February 2024 08:30 PM
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Summit Carbon Solutions, the company behind the controversial Green New Deal pipeline project, is back in the spotlight.

The project, which involves laying a pipeline through the Dakotas and seizing private land, has been met with renewed vigor. This comes despite the opposition from South Dakota Republicans who argue that the project infringes on property rights and supports the "carbon neutral" dystopia of Agenda 2030.

Last week, the state Senate's Commerce and Energy Committee passed SB 201, a bill that overrides all local ordinances and restrictions on carbon capture pipelines. These pipelines, critics argue, serve no purpose other than appeasing the proponents of global warming and bolstering the profits of green energy companies supported by government venture socialism. They are designed to capture and store carbon indefinitely, with no clear endgame in sight.

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The bill's passage has raised eyebrows, with some speculating that it would not have received such strong support from Senate leadership if Governor Kristi Noem had been more vocal in her opposition.

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Local counties in South Dakota have erected zoning and ordinance barriers to the construction of these pipelines. In response, Summit attempted to bypass local ordinances through the state Public Utilities Commission. When this approach failed, Summit lobbyists turned their attention to changing the law to override local control.

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The bill, which passed the committee with a 7-2 vote and is now headed to the state Senate floor, received support from six Republicans, including Majority Leader Casey Crabtree. If enacted, SB 201 would effectively strip local governments of their authority to regulate the routing, setbacks, construction, operation, maintenance, and zoning permits of any carbon capture pipeline.

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Critics of the bill argue that while the state has an interest in preventing counties from blocking essential public works projects like electricity lines or gas and oil pipelines, this particular project offers nothing substantial. Instead, it supports the false narrative that carbon, the basis of human life, is a threat.

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The belief that carbon is harmful and contributes to global warming is a fallacy, critics argue. Despite an additional 450 billion tons of carbon emissions since 2015, there has been no significant warming. In 2022, despite a 12% increase in renewables and an 8% decrease in coal, U.S. carbon emissions still rose by 1.3%.

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Carbon dioxide, which makes up only 0.04% of the atmosphere, has only increased by 0.01% over the past 60 years. Moreover, humans are responsible for only a small percentage of the carbon in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is essential for life on Earth, serving as a basic food source for plants and contributing to the greening of the Earth, as shown by NASA satellites.

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The carbon capture initiative, critics argue, is a costly and unworkable solution to a non-existent problem. Estimates suggest that the carbon capture scheme could cost Great Britain around $50.3 billion, with costs likely to be significantly higher in the U.S. if red states continue to support Green New Deal subsidies.

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The lack of statewide leaders in South Dakota speaking out against the perceived fraud of global warming, the carbon capture scheme, and the need to protect local control of property rights is alarming, critics say.

In 2021, after cities like Sioux Falls imposed mask mandates, the South Dakota House defeated House Bill 1136 and House Bill 1093, which sought to limit a municipality's ability to impose lockdowns or mask mandates. Now, lawmakers appear eager to infringe upon local control due to the influence of lobbyists who support the global warming narrative.

Governor Noem has been noticeably silent on the issue. Critics argue that her opposition could have swayed Senate leadership against the bill. Noem has been vocal about the border crisis, but has said little about the perceived invasion of local property rights by a foreign-backed green energy company subsidized through government green energy subsidies and mandates.

Critics argue that Noem should not only oppose the bill that strips local governments of their authority to regulate carbon pipelines, but should also lead the effort to prohibit eminent domain for such pipelines statewide.

House Bill 1219, introduced by Rep. Jon Hansen (R), would prohibit the use of eminent domain for the construction of pipelines carrying carbon oxide. Despite its common-sense approach, the bill barely passed the House Commerce and Energy Committee last week with a 7-6 vote. Now, it faces a more challenging battle in the more liberal GOP Senate.

Republicans control the state House 63-7 and the state Senate 31-4. However, these majorities are meaningless unless Noem actively engages with the legislative session on this and other issues. Critics argue that if Noem aspires to be the vice presidential nominee, she should start by leading her own state legislature, much like Ron DeSantis in Florida.

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