SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Dennis Wolff of McPherson County said he let a court summons from Summit Carbon Solutions lay on his deck in the rain overnight.

Wolff said he intends to let his lawyer Brian Jorde of Omaha, Nebraska, handle the summons for a lawsuit filed by SCS Carbon Transport LLC in McPherson County.

The person who delivered the summons was trespassing, Wolff said, just like Summit Carbon would be if enters his land to do a survey for a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline that would travel through South Dakota.

Based on South Dakota law, Summit Carbon Solutions has the lawful ability to enter the land to do a necessary survey to help ensure a safe pipeline route, Summit’s director of public affairs Jesse Harris said in a statement to KELOLAND News.

“…there have been a limited number of instances where South Dakota law has been invoked to allow this critical work to continue,” Harris said in his statement. The surveys are needed to “determine a route for our project that maximizes safety to the public and environment,” Harris said.

Wolff is one of at least 22 landowners named in the civil lawsuit.

The proposed CO2 has stirred controversy in McPherson County and other parts of South Dakota and Iowa. Landowners have been outspoken about their safety and other concerns. Other landowners have agreed to allow the pipeline to be installed in easements on their property, Summit has said.

The pipeline would capture CO2 from ethanol plants, which would reduce the plants’ overall carbon footprint and allow those plants to sell ethanol at a higher price in markets such as California, which has strict carbon guidelines. The project would also allow participants to use tax credits provided in the 45Q, which provides a tax credit for each metric ton of sequestered CO2.

“…nearly 250 South Dakota landowners have already signed voluntary easements with the company,” Harris said in his statement to KELOLAND.

Jorde said the lawsuit in McPherson is the first filed by Summit Carbon related to survey work.

“They are suing landowners to force them to allow Summit Carbon to conduct surveys on their land,” Jorde said.

Summit is using “bad law” in South Dakota that tends to favor corporations and not the rights of landowners as leverage in its lawsuit, Jorde said.

“The landowners’ refusal to allow inspection and survey access is unlawful and unreasonable, and will cause irreparable harm to Summit Carbon,” the lawsuit said.

Wolff said he doesn’t want the proposed pipeline crossing his land.

“Who’s liable if it (leaks),” Wolff said. He said he’s been told by pipeline representatives that landowners won’t be responsible for any leaks or ruptures but Wolff said he’s not convinced that would be the case.

And the overall safety concerns are enough for him not to want the pipeline on his property, Wolff said.

Jorde said Summit Carbon has not released a route to the public. “If they have a route, they don’t share it,” Jorde said.

Summit Carbon officials said they are determining a route.

According to the lawsuit,” The surveys are also necessary to identify and describe the property needed for construction of the pipeline.”

Wolff said Summit Carbon had a summons delivered to his dad Quinton Wolff who lives in a nursing home and has Parkinson’s.

He’s told Summit Carbon representatives that he has the power of attorney for his elderly parents. Why would the company deliver a summons to his dad, Wolff wondered.

Harris said in his statement that “the overwhelming majority of the survey work conducted up to this point has involved the landowner voluntarily offering the company permission to access their land.”

Jorde said the lawsuit in McPherson County will likely not be the only access-related lawsuit filed by Summit Carbon Solutions.