S.D. governor appoints seven to pipeline task force

By Erin Voegele | July 08, 2008
Web exclusive posted July 28, 2008 at 9:49 a.m. CST

South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds has appointed seven people to the South Dakota Underground Pipeline Task Force. The task force, which was authorized by the 2008 legislature, was created to review the status of existing and proposed pipelines in South Dakota, and to assess the adequacy of state laws and regulations relating to those pipelines.

Although new energy developments in the state include two proposals for crude oil pipelines and an oil refinery, the study is not limited to crude oil pipelines. Task force members must be knowledgeable of existing state and federal laws that govern underground pipeline facilities for the transmission and distribution of water, natural gas, ethanol and refined petroleum products.

Glacial Lakes Energy LLC's Environmental Health and Safety Director, Pete Bullene of Watertown, S.D., will represent ethanol interests on the task force. According to Bullene, the creation of the task force is a proactive move by the South Dakota government. Although pipelines are not currently considered a viable option to transport ethanol, future technological advances and innovations could make it feasible.

"South Dakota is in a pivotal position to help ease America's energy crisis, and we need to do it right," Gov. Rounds said. "That means making sure we have in place the requirements necessary to protect our soils, water resources, private property rights, and the environment. This task force will help us complete that review for pipeline projects."

The task force, which will be staffed by Brian Walsh, a hydrology specialist at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, has scheduled its first meeting for August 14 in Pierre, S.D. The task force's finding must be presented to Gov. Rounds by Dec. 1.

Besides Bullene, the other task force members appointed include: Gary Hanson, of Pierre, S.D., a commissioner with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, will serve as the task force chairman. Dennis Davis, executive director of the Association of Rural Water Systems in Sioux Falls, S.D., will represent water pipelines. Gordon Woods, vice president and chief operations officer of the South Dakota Intrastate Pipeline Co. of Pierre, S.D., will represent natural gas pipelines. Daniel Holli, an environmental and regulatory specialist at Plains Pipeline of Belfield, N.D., will represent crude oil. Plains Pipeline currently operates the only crude oil pipeline in South Dakota. Troy Styer, president of the South Dakota Pipeline Association of Wolsey, S.D., will represent refined petroleum pipelines. Mark Anderson, president of the South Dakota AFL-CIO in Sioux Falls, S.D., will represent the public at large.