NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — Representative Rick Becker announced proposed legislation to protect landowner rights pertaining to carbon dioxide pipelines in North Dakota.

The threat of eminent domain is something no landowner wants to see.

KX News has covered a number of stories expressing their concerns as it relates to eminent domain and our local landowners.

We even spoke to companies working on carbon pipelines and landowners for it.

On September 28, both Representative Becker and Senate candidate Jeff Magrum spoke in support of landowners facing eminent domain abuses.

“What we have in common is a concern that we honor and respect private property rights. What we have in common is that farmers, ranchers, and landowners need to be treated respectfully and fairly and they should have a say, as to what happens on their property,” said Representative Becker. 

For a while now, the talk of many towns here in our state has been the carbon dioxide pipeline through North Dakota that Summit Carbon Solutions plans to build.

With eminent domain as the main focus, Becker pointed out that in the state constitution under Article 1 Section 16, the Summits project outline goes against our state constitution. 

This project affects landowners in 11 counties.

Through the proposed bill, those landowners would be granted legislation designed to provide protection to landowners in these circumstances.

It would specifically deny eminent domain for CO2 pipelines.

Right now, Becker says there are several red flags from the pipeline companies.

“I’m concerned about the pipeline company having very deep involvement with global and powerful companies that have ESG policies as their prime director, more specifically I’m talking about summit carbon solutions and their investors. I’m concerned that billions of your taxpayer dollars are being bundled into an extravagant, very interesting carbon credits scheme in which several companies stand to be significantly enriched and I’m concerned that based on the 45Q tax credits structure the carbon dioxide pipeline, this particular one harms the ability for us to maximize enhanced oil recovery which I think is very good for North Dakota,” said Becker. 

While at the capitol, we spoke with a widowed landowner who prefers to stay anonymous, she says she has been threatened and treated poorly by Summit.

She says even after a number of no entry signs, their workers have entered her land without her permission.

Landowner Dan McLean too says he is opposed to the CO2 pipeline and says he told summit just that.

“If we can get in their way, at least, if I can stop them, I will. It’s too big of a pipeline to put that type of stuff in if it ever breaks, or if it broke along the river and ran down the river, how much of Bismarck and Mandan would be left it could happen in the middle of winter in the middle of the night, that’s my concern with it,” said McLean.

Becker says this is not a political bill and the bill is strictly for CO2 pipelines only.

A large number of North Dakota landowners have voted unanimously on a resolution stating they’re opposed to the use of the eminent domain.

Our state is not the only state battling with Summit Carbons in the fight for respect and proper rights.

Representative Becker also wants to clarify this bill only addresses eminent domain for CO2 pipelines for landowners.

It does not address the Williston Basin location, where tons of liquid carbon dioxide will be released underground.

Moments before the show, Jesse Harris, the director of public affairs at Summit Carbon Solutions reached out with the following statement to share their side :

Linear infrastructure projects like Summit Carbon Solution’s project are critical to the future of Ag 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.