Public Service Carbons holds hearing about Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline

Summit Carbon Solutions
Summit Carbon Solutions(KFYR)
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 8:41 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - How would a pipeline carrying millions of tons of carbon dioxide impact Bismarck? That’s the question the Public Service Commission hoped to answer at a lengthy public hearing about the Summit Carbon Solutions project at the Heritage Center on Tuesday.

The Summit Carbon Solutions project is going to be huge if it gets approved. It’ll cost several billion dollars and it’ll bring carbon dioxide from five states to North Dakota to be stored underground. But some people are concerned about how it’ll affect communities around the state. On Tuesday, the focus was on Bismarck.

Former Bismarck Mayor John Warford is saying no to the carbon dioxide pipeline.

“I’m trying to preserve my rights so that this company doesn’t take my land, I’m trying to preserve my rights that my family, who lives on the ranch property a little over a mile from the pipeline, that their safety is not compromised,” said John Warford.

He says he’s concerned the position of the pipeline will negatively impact the city.

“Bismarck is going to grow to the north and to the east, and if this pipeline stays where it is, it’s going to affect the long-term growth of Bismarck,” said Warford.

Warford hired an attorney to question witnesses at length during the PSC meeting on Friday.

“Why is it in this situation that the only location on the entire route where Summit is requesting to install the pipeline close to a city is Bismarck?” said Randy Bakke, John Warford’s attorney.

The COO of Summit Carbon Solutions says that’s not true: the pipeline ventures near other, larger cities along the five-state route too.

“For a project of this size, I believe only about 5% of the pipeline route actually traverses a high consequence or could affect area, which is extremely low. In my experience, they’re usually, depending on where you are in the country, 40 to 50 to 60%,” said James Powell, COO of Summit Carbon Solutions.

Even so, many people like John Warford are still opposed to the project.

“If you really want to get down to this, this is all about climate change. Taking CO2 from these ethanol plants so that the climate is not affected adversely, that’s their premise. I have a differing opinion, but I think that’s what we’re dealing with,” said Warford.

Interestingly, environmental groups seeking to fight climate change, like the Dakota Resource Council, stand with Warford in opposition to the pipeline. The Commission didn’t site the pipeline today.

There will be three more public hearings over the next 2 months in Gwinner, Wahpeton, and Linton, where members of the public are welcome to testify.