Judge rules pipeline company can enter and survey land without owners' permission

In South Dakota, a judge ruled that surveyors from a pipeline company may enter and survey private land without the owners' permission.

Some landowners, however, are resisting the project due to threats of eminent domain being utilized. These landowners have argued that they have the right to deny Summit Carbon Solutions surveyors access to their property under both the South Dakota and U.S. constitutions. The basis of the argument is that a carbon pipeline is not a "common carrier" pipeline. On February 10, 2023, Summit filed a motion for summary judgement on the lawsuit. In response, the landowners filed a motion to continue. The case was heard by Circuit Court Judge Richard A. Sommers on March 14, and Sommers granted Summit's request for summary judgement on April 21.While the ruling allows Summit Carbon Solutions to survey private lands for the pipeline, they will still have to get a permit approved by the Public Utilities Commission before the construction of the pipeline can begin.

There is some nuance here, but the journey from "capture carbon dioxide from ethanol plants and sequester it underground" to "we must eminent domain all this land to build another pipeline" is comically on the nose. The northwest exemplifies the whole U.S. "libertarian fantasy, corporate reality" vibe nicely. If I bought a gun from the back a truck behind a dumpster there I'd just assume that there was some fine print somewhere that meant it was, technically, a pipeline belonging to Marathon Petroleum.

CORRECTION: South Dakota, not North Dakota.