PFH Webinar: “Preemption and Pipeline Regulations” | Jan. 30
Carbon pipeline developers have in recent months gone to the extreme step of suing several County Boards in Iowa and South Dakota that passed ordinances or moratoriums to put in place common-sense protections for their communities from the dangerous proposed projects.
The number of counties across Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Illinois and Nebraska is growing each day that have either already passed, or are considering voting on ordinances that impose distance “setbacks,” and require public safety-related information needed for county emergency response planning.
Other counties have imposed a moratorium on all carbon pipeline construction, until the federal government’s PHMSA pipeline safety agency completes a new rulemaking process for carbon pipelines it started in the wake of its damning report after operator Denbury’s carbon pipeline rupture in Satartia, MS in 2020.
Landowners opposed to eminent domain and proposed carbon pipelines through their land have voiced strong objections to their local county elected officials, and these County Boards and Commissions in the impacted states have listened and done due diligence before passing common-sense ordinances and moratoriums on the pipelines.
But, using a well-worn page from Big Oil’s playbook, the carbon pipeline companies have threatened these county officials with lawsuits, claiming that federal law’s Pipeline Safety Act “preempts” their presumed lower county-level authority to enact protections for their communities. However, despite industry’s loud trumpeting of the “preemption” threat at countless county board meetings, they will soon be tested in the courts.
Attorneys for landowners have made strong counter-arguments in these federal court cases that counties are properly vested with the authority to pass these ordinances and moratoriums, and request safety information from the companies. The outcome of these federal cases will have significant impacts for the viability of these pipelines.
Attorney Paul Blackburn with Bold Alliance speaks on the thorny topic of “preemption” — when a higher-level authority’s power to enact laws supersedes a lower-level’s authority — in this instance as it relates to states and counties putting protections in place for their communities when faced with proposed large industrial projects like carbon dioxide pipelines.2023-01-24 Federal Preemption Table
NOTES FROM THE WEBINAR
- Nebraska Landowner and County Leader Guide to Carbon Pipeline Risks
- We are providing hard copies in Nebraska to county boards and landowners at meetings of the Nebraska Easement Action Team
- More from Paul on how counties can regulate routing and impose setbacks on CO2 pipelines: “Does Federal Law Prohibit Counties From Imposing Setbacks on CO2 Pipelines?”
- To contact Paul about developing or reviewing a county ordinance, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- CO2 Pipeline County Ordinance and State Legislation Tracker
- Next month’s Pipeline Fighters Hub webinar is “State of the States: CO2 Pipelines” — a roundup of updates from NE, IA, SD, ND, MN, IL on state legislature bills introduced to stop eminent domain and regulate carbon pipelines, featuring organizers on the ground in all the states. REGISTER
- Bold Alliance has produced a Model County Ordinance for Carbon Pipelines that county officials may review and consider as a basis for crafting their own ordinances. (Note: The Model County Ordinance language was produced based on Nebraska‘s unique laws. If you’re a landowner or organizer interested in obtaining draft county ordinance language for your state, please contact us.)
- Sample ordinance for Nebraska counties is embedded on this page
- Carbon Pipelines 101 to Latest Research
- PHMSA notice of rule making on CO2 pipelines