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ABC News Quotes Brian Jorde on Legal Battle Over Summit’s CO2 Pipeline

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Domina Law Group Managing Lawyer Brian Jorde was recently quoted by ABC News for an article discussing the ongoing legal battle over Summit Carbon Solutions’ controversial carbon capture pipeline and upcoming hearings before various state regulators.

As we recently discussed on our blog, Summit Carbon Solutions, the company behind a proposed a $5.5 billion, 2,000-mile pipeline network that would transport emissions from ethanol plants across the Midwest to underground storage facilities in North Dakota, hit a hurdle when regulators from the North Dakota Public Service Commission voted to deny Summit’s siting permit for the portion of the pipeline that falls within the state. In its decision, the Commission noted concerns regarding the impact on cultural resources and farmland, geologic instability, and landowner rights.

But as reported by ABC News, Summit still intends to push forward with its project in North Dakota and other states where it has upcoming hearings. This includes a public evidentiary hearing that was recently held in Fort Dodge Iowa, for which a decision on Summit’s permit request will soon follow, a hearing before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission set for August 31st regarding a permit for Summit to build its pipeline in two counties, and another evidentiary hearing before the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission set for September 11th. A decision in the South Dakota matter is expected by mid-November.

For insight on the upcoming hearings, ABC News turned to Domina Law’s Managing Lawyer Brian Jorde, who is representing over 1,000 landowners affected by pipeline projects proposed by Summit and two other companies in various Midwest states. As Jorde mentioned, Summit will also face regulatory issues in Nebraska, where, in the absence of a state-level authority for CO2 pipelines, Summit will have to work with individual counties that can institute ordinances’ setbacks for land-use purposes that dictate where pipelines can be built and enter into road haul agreements and road crossing permits.

Jorde also spoke with ABC News about the substance of the challenges our firm is raising on behalf of affected landowners. This includes not only concerns about the pipeline’s impact on land and natural resources, but also landowners’ opposition to Summit’s attempts to use eminent domain, a right typically reserved for the government and public use projects, and how the company is using it as leverage to obtain easements. As Jorde told ABC News:

“When you have the power of eminent domain like a hammer over a landowner's head, you can intimidate them into doing things they wouldn't otherwise do, which is sign easements, which Summit then turns around and says, ‘Look at all these “voluntary” easements we have. Look at all the “support” we have,' which is completely false."