NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — The contention surrounding the multi-billion dollar Summit Carbon Solutions’ C02 pipeline represents a philosophical divide among North Dakotans.

Independent Candidate for U.S. Senate, Dr. Rick Becker has drafted legislation that would block all C02 pipelines from claiming private land without permission.

Becker is against more than just C02 pipelines claiming eminent domain, he’s against all C02 projects that would rely on tax credits.

KX News’ Josh Meny sat down with Becker to discuss the big picture.

Earlier this week you had a press conference where you announced legislation that you drafted regarding C02 pipelines that would block them from claiming eminent domain on private property owners’ land. When you were at that press conference, you said about 100 private property landowners were there who’ve been affected by the Summit Carbon Solutions’ Midwest Carbon Express pipeline. It’s a multibillion-dollar, five-state pipeline that would take C02 from around 30 ethanol plants, pump it into North Dakota where it would theoretically be stored underground. Tell us how is this pipeline company been treating the private landowners you’ve been talking to?

“Yeah, well, consistently what I’ve been hearing is that the pipeline company has been treating them very poorly, has not been respecting their private property rights, coming on their property without permission. When they ask for permission. If it’s denied, they immediately go to threats of lawsuits. And in fact, there are already several lawsuits in place. So a really significant disregard for the property owners’ rights,” explained Independent candidate for U.S. Senate Dr. Rick Becker.

Your competitor John Hoeven, incumbent Senator, has been basically essential to setting up 45Q [tax credit], as well as getting North Dakota primacy for carbon capture storage wells. I’ve spoken to Senator Hoeven, he says he wants Summit Carbon Solutions to talk to the private property owners before they build a pipeline. However, he has also been essential to 45Q tax credits, which gives basically subsidies to companies that capture a certain amount of C02. You say those two things conflict?

“Correct. Well, yes, he does say that he does not want eminent domain use. But of course, that doesn’t really carry water because they are already in the process. They filed papers with the Public Service Commission to allow them to start the proceedings of eminent domain, which again, is just to take someone’s property with government force against their will. So you can say that you’re not in favor of it, but it’s going to happen. That’s what this legislation prevents,” said Becker.

“With the 45Q tax credits. Absolutely. John Hoeven is all about that, that’s his baby, which I’m absolutely opposed to that, it takes billions of taxpayer dollars and gives them to private companies in the name of carbon credits. We’re talking Al Gore here. If you believe in carbon credits, and you want that money to go to private companies, then maybe this is a good deal. For me. absolutely opposed,” explained Becker.

Now, Lynn Helms, [Director of] North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources has said that carbon capture utilization, essentially piping the co2 to the Bakken for enhanced oil recovery is critical for keeping the Bakken alive and competitive, which, therefore, creates domestic energy independence, which therefore creates national security issues?

“I agree with that. But what we’re talking about, in that circumstance, is utilization of enhanced oil recovery. What I’m talking about is just the underground storage where they take carbon dioxide, which is plant food, which gives us great crop yields, and they want to shove it underground because they believe in this whole global warming thing. What we’re looking at with utilization or enhanced oil recovery is excellent. It’s fantastic for North Dakota, the 45Q tax credit system gives favourability to not use it for enhanced oil recovery. You get the people with C02, the people that are going to make all the money, they get 42% more money for every ton of carbon, if they shove it underground, rather than using it for enhanced oil recovery. So the 45Q is not a friend of the oil companies by any means, it is not a friend of North Dakota, in my opinion.

But one-word answer, “yes or no” – should C02 pipelines that are going toward enhanced oil recovery be given eminent domain?

“No, but I’m in favor of them, but they should not be given eminent domain,” said Becker.

Representative Jeff Magrum will take the C02 pipeline legislation into the upcoming 68th Legislative Assembly starting in January after he assumes his new office as District 8 State Senator.