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Proposed legislation would bar eminent domain for CO2 pipelines in North Dakota, Senate candidate says

State Rep. Rick Becker said his proposed legislation focuses on protecting the rights of landowners with the aim of ensuring property owners will be treated with respect and have a say in what happens to their land.

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North Dakota State Rep. Rick Becker talks at the state Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, about proposed legislation he said would prevent eminent domain from being used to facilitate construction of carbon dioxide pipelines in North Dakota.
Contributed / Rick Becker via Facebook
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BISMARCK — North Dakota state Rep. Rick Becker, R-Bismarck, on Wednesday, Sept. 28, announced that he plans to promote proposed legislation that would prevent eminent domain from being used to help in the construction of carbon dioxide pipelines in North Dakota.

Becker, who is an independent candidate for U.S. Senate, made the announcement Wednesday afternoon at the state Capitol, along with Rep. Jeff Magrum, R-Hazelton, who is a candidate for state Senate.

Becker said he will not take part in the next legislative session, noting Magrum would champion the legislation outlined Wednesday.

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Rep. Jeff Magrum, R-Hazelton, holds up an attack ad paid for by Brighter Future Alliance at a press conference in the North Dakota Capitol on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
Contributed / State of North Dakota

Becker and Magrum said they support North Dakota landowners who may face eminent domain actions in connection with a carbon dioxide pipeline planned by Summit Carbon Solutions.

Becker said he is convinced Summit Carbon Solutions is planning to use eminent domain proceedings as part of its pipeline project, despite company claims to the contrary.

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The issue could impact landowners in Cass, Richland, Sargent, Dickey, McIntosh, Logan, Emmons, Burleigh, Oliver, Morton and Mercer counties in North Dakota, he said.

The proposed legislation focuses on protecting the rights of landowners, Becker said, with the aim of ensuring property owners will be treated with respect and have a say in what happens to their land.

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Rep. Rick Becker, R-Bismarck, poses for a portrait in the North Dakota Capitol on Friday, Sept. 2, after turning in signed petitions for his independent U.S. Senate campaign.
Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service

He noted he was singling out carbon dioxide pipelines because, unlike oil or natural gas pipelines, he believes carbon dioxide pipelines do not represent a public good.

"Carbon dioxide is a waste product," Becker said.

Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions has said its $4.5-billion pipeline project will help ethanol plants in five states, including the Green Plains Ethanol plant in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, lower their carbon scores.

A 28-mile portion of the proposed pipeline, estimated to cost about $50 million, would run through part of Otter Tail and Wilkin counties in Minnesota before crossing into North Dakota.

The stated goal of the pipeline project is to capture greenhouse gas emissions and pipe the CO2 to western North Dakota for underground storage.

Besides Minnesota and North Dakota, parts of the proposed CO2 pipeline would also run through Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska.

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Summit Carbon Solutions released a statement Wednesday in which it said projects like the carbon dioxide pipeline "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," the statement said, adding that Summit Carbon Solutions will continue to work with landowners and local leaders to identify and address concerns.

The statement said Summit Carbon Solutions has reached agreements with more than 500 landowners in North Dakota, which includes more than 80% of the area where the company proposes to permanently store CO2.

The statement added that a majority of landowners in a number of North Dakota counties have granted easements relating to the pipeline portion of the project, including Logan (100%), Mercer (100%), Oliver (70%), Sargent (61%), McIntosh (57%), Morton (52%), and Emmons (51%).

"We look forward to continuing to advance our project in the weeks and months to come," the statement added.

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

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