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North Dakota landowners continue mobilization in opposing carbon pipeline

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Mike Moen

(Prairie News Service) Next week, North Dakota landowners will get a chance to hear updates on a proposed underground pipeline for transporting and sequestering carbon dioxide. The meeting comes as tension builds between landowners and the company behind the project.

Dakota Resource Council is hosting next Tuesday's meeting, and said it wants affected property owners to learn about the latest efforts by Summit Carbon Solutions to secure land for its multistate pipeline.

The company recently submitted paperwork in North Dakota to pursue eminent domain if it cannot obtain enough voluntary easements.

Eliot Huggins, field organizer for the Council, said Summit is placing unnecessary pressure on those not agreeing to contracts.

"Harassing, threats of eminent domain, things like that," Huggins outlined. "There's folks at the beginning who might have been open to this who are now pretty opposed, and that's largely just due to their interactions with the company."

Summit insists "misinformation" is being used by opponents and said it will continue to work with local leaders and landowners to address concerns. Tuesday's meeting will be held in Bismarck at the Veterans Memorial Library and begins at 6 p.m. For those who cannot be there in person, they can request a Zoom link from the group to participate online.

The Council also urged those concerned to sign up for the grassroots North Dakota Easement Team, which is designed to fight Summit's efforts collectively, including potential legal options, while informing people of their rights.

Brian Jorde, managing partner of Domina Law Group, which is part of the legal team, said the group approach can be more effective than a person taking action on their own. 

"You can be as noisy as you want on your own and good luck to you," Jorde noted. "But unless you're part of a larger group, you can't hope to even make a dent or resist these billion-dollar-backed entities."

Similar groups have been formed in other Midwestern states in the proposed project's footprint. Summit wants to capture carbon dioxide from ethanol plants and move it through multiple states before storing it underground in North Dakota. The plan is touted as a solution in reducing harmful emissions.

Groups such as the Resource Council said while they are not opposed to the concept of carbon sequestration, they argued a large-scale approach presents too many challenges.