Landowners, legislators push back against carbon pipeline

Rick Becker
Rick Becker(KFYR-TV)
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 5:17 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Carbon capture is popular among those in the energy industry, but there are a lot of people who aren’t particularly thrilled by the idea.

There’s a massive carbon capture project underway that’ll span five states and carry millions of tons of carbon dioxide to North Dakota every year so it can be stored underground. But some landowners from across the region are speaking out against it.

Kurt Swenson, who lives south of Beulah, is skeptical about the carbon capture project.

“Our private property rights that are granted by the Constitution are incredibly important to us. They give us the right to protect what is ours, and in this case, we have the right to exclude others from our private property,” said Swenson.

He’s not opposed to carbon capture: it all comes back to his rights.

“There are very good things that could come out of this, but what’s happening today is that we’re bypassing constitutionally protected private property rights,” said Swenson.

That’s why Representatives Rick Becker and Jeff Magrum have announced legislation to protect those rights.

“This legislation will clarify that eminent domain may not be used to procure easements for carbon dioxide pipelines and prevents landowners from being financially ruined for trying to fight it in the court system,” said Representative Becker.

Senator John Hoeven, a champion of carbon capture and the incumbent who holds the Senate seat Becker is challenging in November, said in a statement that he’s “already met with leadership at Summit Carbon Solutions to urge that private property rights are respected and the company should not use eminent domain.”

The legislation will be introduced when the session begins in January.

The Summit Carbon Solutions website says the project will generate thousands of jobs during construction and hundreds of full-time jobs once operational.