(Fargo, ND) -- A North Dakota State lawmaker says he is taking a stand to protect the rights of landowners who could be impacted by a pipeline project by Summit Carbon Solutions.
"In North Dakota we are looking at a 24" pipe. What they need to do, what any pipeline company needs to do is procure the rights to have an easement to place the pipe underground of the landowner's property," said Rick Becker.
Becker says he'll propose legislation that would prevent Summit Carbon Solutions from using eminent domain to build a CO2 pipeline across the state. The pipeline would carry carbon dioxide emissions from various Midwest locations to North Dakota, where it would be pumped underground.
"Summit Carbon Solutions is having, I think they've had a lot of missteps. They made a lot of enemies amongst the landowners. They seem to have numerous episodes of not respecting the landowner's preferences, their rights and so forth," said Becker.
The representative says he wants to protect the rights of landowners who don't want the pipeline on their property.
"They are using eminent domain in Iowa, in Nebraska, and they have taken the first step in North Dakota to notify the Public Service Commission that they accept the parameters of the eminent domain laws in North Dakota.
WDAY News First is requesting comment from representatives with Summit Carbon Solutions.
After this story was published, Jesse Harris, Director of Public Affairs for Summit Carbon Solutions provided the following written statement to WDAY News First:
"Linear infrastructure projects like Summit Carbon Solution’s project are critical to the future of Agriculture and Energy, North Dakota’s largest economic sectors, and the livelihood of North Dakotans. Opponents of modern agriculture and traditional energy have mobilized and are activating landowners against the project using misinformation to incite landowners. Summit Carbon Solutions will continue to work with landowners and local leaders to identify and address concerns.
Summit Carbon Solutions has signed agreement with more than 1,900 landowners which equates to over 3,000 easement agreements and more are being signed every day. Here in North Dakota, the company has signed agreements with more than 500 landowners, which includes more than 80% of the area where we have proposed to permanently store CO2.
A majority of landowners in a number of North Dakota counties have signed easement agreements with Summit Carbon Solutions on the pipeline portion of the project, including Logan (100%), Mercer (100%), Oliver (70%), Sargent (61%), McIntosh (57%), Morton (52%), and Emmons (51%).
This significant level of progress is being made because the company’s efforts to work with local stakeholders and the multi-billion-dollar infrastructure investment will open new economic opportunities for ethanol producers, strengthen the agricultural marketplace for corn growers, and generate tens of millions of dollars in new property tax revenues that will help local communities support critical priorities like our schools. We look forward to continuing to advance our project in the weeks and months to come."