Carbon Pipeline Bill Passes Through the Senate

SB201 is trying to find common ground.  There are the state’s ethanol plants and Summit Carbon Solutions on one side, and landowners and local government officials who oppose using eminent domain in particular and carbon sequestration pipelines in general.

The bill passed the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee 7 to 2.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Casey Crabtree from Madison introduced the bill. 

He said he was trying to balance respect for landowners and the pipeline developers’ need for certainty. 

One of the bill’s key components is that it would curtail local input into the process, particularly concerning setbacks. The Public Utilities Commission would preempt city and county governments from setting up setbacks.  

Opponents hammered the bill for what they say is a repudiation of local governments’ interest in doing what’s best for their citizens.  Even some of the bill’s supporters were less than enthusiastic about it. 

Summit Carbon Solutions lobbyist Brett Koenecke (ken-icky).

His biggest concern was dealing with local governments and how some counties managed the previous attempt to influence the siting of the pipeline.  Koenecke said it was a “Balkanized system of pipeline regulation.”

County officials at the hearing took offense to that statement. 

Brown County Commissioner Drew Dennert from Columbia.

Koeneke had also testified that the federal government preempted the state government concerning pipeline safety. 

Hand County Commissioner Jim Eschenbaum from Miller disagreed. 

Many of the other bills introduced in the House addressing the carbon pipeline projects have gone down to defeat in the House Commerce and Energy Committee.

SB201 now goes to the Senate floor for debate.