by Jared Strong
Summit Carbon Solutions’ revised carbon dioxide pipeline proposal in North Dakota increases its footprint by about 4% in that state and would affect dozens of landowners, according to a recent regulatory filing.
The North Dakota Public Service Commission in August rejected the company’s request for a permit to build its pipeline system because the company didn’t show that it had minimized the project’s adverse effects on residents.
The commission later agreed to reconsider Summit’s permit request when the company said it would address the commission’s concerns by adjusting its plans.
Summit seeks to build a 2,000-mile pipeline system in five states to transport captured carbon dioxide from ethanol plants to North Dakota for underground sequestration.
Summit recently submitted new details of its adjustments for the North Dakota route at the commission’s request. They show that the total route in North Dakota would span 333 miles — up from 320 in the initial proposal — and that the rerouting would affect about 100 new land parcels in five counties.
“Summit has made significant progress in addressing deficiencies,” wrote Lawrence Bender, an attorney for Summit.
He noted that the new plan moves the pipeline route more than nine miles farther north of Bismarck and avoids four sets of landowners who opposed the initial proposal. It also significantly reduces the width of the project corridor — the area in which the pipeline can be constructed — from 300 feet to 200.
The route near Bismarck has been particularly contentious for its potential to threaten future development. Bismarck is the state capital and is the second-largest city in the state. The commission has also asked Summit to submit information about a potential route around the south of the city, but that was not included in the latest filing.
Summit said it has signed land easements for about 73% of its route in North Dakota, which is down slightly from what it reported to the commission in July. It attributed that decline to the route changes.
For example: In Burleigh County, which has the significant route change near Bismarck, Summit said it has easements for about 41% of the route, down from 59% in July.
The Public Service Commission will use the new information provided by Summit to decide how to proceed with the reconsideration of its permit request. That might include one or more further hearings to weigh the changes and solicit public input.
The commission plans to hold a preliminary hearing in the meantime to consider Summit’s request to overrule two county ordinances that would restrict the placement of its pipeline.
The company’s permit process in Iowa is nearing its end. An evidentiary hearing with the Iowa Utilities Board is poised to resume next week and conclude by mid November.
South Dakota also rejected Summit’s initial proposal, and the company plans to reapply.
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