BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — On Tuesday, neighbors in Bismarck are getting their chance to raise their concerns about a proposed $5.5 billion carbon dioxide pipeline planned to run through North Dakota.

The pipeline network is designed for 18 million tons. Currently, we have approximately nine and a half million tons under contract.

On Tuesday morning, the Public Service Commission moved to the Heritage Center to make room for neighbors to hear about plans for a new gas pipeline. It has plans to pump concentrated carbon dioxide to underground storage sites in Oliver and Mercer Counties. James Powell, the CEO of Summit Carbon Solutions, sat down to testify on what the project will mean for people in the state.

“You’re preventing 18 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere”, Powell said, “so it’s supporting agriculture and the demand for corn products.”

“This is way too close to Bismarck,” argued former Bismarck mayor John Warford. “It’s just a mile outside our extraterritorial area. It runs right through a rural residential area.”

Warford is one of the most staunch opponents of the new pipeline and plans to continue to fight the idea. He says the new pipeline cuts right through his property — and that’s why he hired an attorney to be present at the public hearing.

“I think it’s clearly relevant to his testimony that this is a completely safe pipeline,” stated attorney Randy Bakke, “and there’s nothing for the public or the PSC to be concerned about.”

“I think that’s a mischaracterization,” Powell responded. “I do believe this will be one of the safest pipelines constructed. It’s new construction.

Bakke then questioned Powell about pipeline safety, including an incident in a small town in Mississippi in 2020.

“45 people had to have medical attention at local hospitals, including people who were caught in the vapor cloud while driving a vehicle. Correct?” Bakke asked.

“Correct,” Powell answered.

If approved, the pipeline would run from Ames, Iowa to Center in ND. So far, Powell says they’ve worked out easements with over 60% of the landowners they need. Warford and his family have said no, but the pipe would run through his property regardless.

“If the pipeline goes through that entire 320 acres, it’s useless except for some cows because nobody’s going to want to build there,” said Warford. “In fact, there’ll be setbacks that people cannot build there if Burleigh County Planning Commission has their way.”

The Public Service Commission won’t take any action on the project for at least a few more months, giving neighbors more time to voice their concerns.

The next public hearing happens on March 28 at North Sargent school in Gwinner. Linton will also host a public hearing on May 9 at the Emmons County Courthouse.