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Mitchell Republic Covers Fight Against Summit Carbon Solutions’ Potential Use of Eminent Domain

pipeline construction

The Mitchell Republic has published a new article about landowners’ ongoing fight against the Midwest Carbon Express pipeline and Summit Carbon Solutions’ controversial attempts to use eminent domain.

As reported by the South Dakota newspaper, which also interviewed Domina Law Group Managing Lawyer Brian Jorde, Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed pipeline would transport carbon dioxide emissions from ethanol plants in Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota through 2,000 miles of pipeline before sequestering it deep underground.

While Summit has slated early 2023 as its construction start date, the company has encountered numerous roadblocks, including permit challenges before public utilities commissions and a looming legal showdown with affected landowners – hundreds of whom are represented by Domina Law Group and Attorney Brian Jorde – who oppose the company’s attempts to use eminent domain.

At the core of these landowner challenges are arguments that Summit Carbon Solutions should not be permitted to exercise eminent domain to gain access to private property so it can construct its pipeline.

In challenges raised by Domina Law and Attorney Brian Jorde, landowners contend that allowing a private company to use eminent domain – a right typically reserved for the government and public-use projects – would set a dangerous precedent. As many landowners and advocates agree, it’s one thing for the project to move forward entirely through voluntary easements and public rights-of-way but using eminent domain to take from landowners and profit from their privately owned land is entirely unacceptable.

And profit they would. Given lucrative federal subsidies, Summit stands to reap incredible profits for itself and its questionable foreign investors, rather than the communities and property owners which own the land and assume the potential health and environmental risks associated with the pipeline.

As Brian Jorde told The Mitchell Republic, the potential windfall Summit stands to receive from tax credits alone is a clear indication that this is a money-motivated venture:

“Billions and billions and billions in tax credits that they'll trade away to their rich friends. All on the backs of hard-working South Dakotans. This is probably the worst possible project that could even be fashioned and the fact that it’s even being considered is outrageous.”

The article goes on to discuss how the conflict has also raised important questions about state and federal eminent domain laws, the need for landowners and lawmakers to work together to evaluate and amend them, and the potential to learn, as Jorde notes, “which elected officials stand with landowners and which ones don’t.” It also mentions Attorney Brian Jorde’s work representing dozens of landowners in a lawsuit to overturn a South Dakota law that’s been used to allow biological and cultural surveys without landowner permission.

Read the full article from the Mitchell Republic featuring Attorney Brian Jorde’s comments here.