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Sen. Jeff Magrum files 8 bills related to Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline

Summit Carbon Solutions says its $4.5 billion pipeline project will help ethanol plants and corn growers but has been met with resistance from landowners.

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BISMARCK, N.D. — The controversial Summit Carbon Solutions carbon capture pipeline has spawned at least eight bills in the North Dakota Legislature.

Two of the eight bills are directly related to the percentage of voluntary easements from property owners that would be required to obtain a pipeline permit in North Dakota.

Others are related to private property access by surveyors and underground storage space.

Summit Carbon Solutions is seeking to build a 2,000-mile system of pipelines, connecting ethanol plants in five states to underground storage sites west of Bismarck.

Summit ND route.png

The bills are:

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  • SB 2209: Requires 85% of landowners to provide a voluntary easement to obtain right of eminent domain. Counties could set a higher standard.
  • SB 2212 : Removes carbon capture pipelines from being granted the right of eminent domain even if granted common carrier status.
  • SB 2228: Requires 100% consent for underground carbon dioxide storage from the owners of the pore space, eliminating eminent domain.
  • SB 2251 : Survey crews must obtain written permission from property owners. (There are currently multiple lawsuits involving Summit and surveyor access.)
  • SB 2310 : If a person prevails against the state in a court hearing, (as in a surveyor access case) they are entitled to be reimbursed for court costs.
  • SB 2313 : If property is taken by eminent domain, a court must increase the award by 33%.
  • SB 2314: Requires a public hearing in each county where the pipeline company is seeking common carrier status.
  • SB 2317 : Requires 85% of landowners to consent to underground storage space. Counties could set a higher standard.
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Sen. Jeff Magrum, R-Hazelton, is a sponsor on all of the bills. He said part of the reason he filed the bills is to give people a chance to testify about the pipeline project.

He blames Summit Carbon Solutions for a lot of the pushback against the pipeline, “just because they don’t know how to treat landowners.”

The pipeline route must be approved by the state Public Service Commission. The storage permit must be approved by the state’s Industrial Commission, which includes Gov. Doug Burgum, a vocal advocate for carbon capture and storage.

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Tharaldson Ethanol in Casselton, North Dakota, plant produces about 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide per day, according to company officials.
Jaryn Homiston / Agweek

Summit says the project benefits the ethanol industry, including Tharaldson Ethanol at Casselton, and corn growers.

But landowners have been reluctant to grant easements for the hazardous materials pipeline, citing concerns about safety, damage to farmland and property value.

Bruce Rastetter and Doug Burgum on a stage in front of an American flag
Bruce Rastetter, left, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum were at the Tharaldson Ethanol plant in Casselton, North Dakota, on March 2, 2022, to announce an investment from Continental Resources into the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline project. Rastetter is the head of Iowa-based Summit Agricultural Group, with Summit Carbon Solutions a spinoff of that company.
Evan Girtz / Agweek

Earlier this year, Burgum joined Summit officials in Casselton to announce the involvement of Continental Resources in the project. The Republican governor is pushing for carbon storage as a way for North Dakota to become carbon neutral by 2030. But he also has said publicly that the pipeline should be accomplished only with voluntary easements, not the legal force of eminent domain.

Emmons hearing

Emmons County in North Dakota has set a public hearing for 6 p.m., Jan. 25, at the courthouse in Linton on setbacks and land use related to hazardous liquid pipelines.

The county had previously passed an ordinance to raise the conditional use permit fee to 3% of a total project cost, which would mean a fee $135 million on the $4.5 billion Summit project. It also passed an ordinance requiring 100% voluntary easements.

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The main trunk of the pipeline would run through Emmons County in south-central North Dakota.

Summit issued this statement Wednesday, Jan. 18:

“The past year has demonstrated clearly that North Dakota landowners are embracing carbon capture projects and see these investments as critical to supporting the state’s two most important industries — agriculture and energy. Hundreds of North Dakota landowners have signed easement agreements with Summit Carbon Solutions, accounting for 85% of the area where the company will safely sequester CO2 and more than 58% of the proposed pipeline route, with many additional landowners currently considering agreements.

“Given this strong and growing support across the state, it’s not surprising project opponents continue to try to invent distractions in their attempts to prevent essential investments in the state’s infrastructure, even those that will create jobs and grow our economy. We look forward to continuing to work with landowners, stakeholders, and policymakers to advance our nearly $900 million investment in North Dakota’s future.”

Reach Jeff Beach at jbeach@agweek.com or call 701-451-5651 (work) or 859-420-1177.
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