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Upcoming events
    CO2 Pipelines – Bismarck Public Information Meeting Scheduled @ Bismarck Public Library
    Nov 27 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

    In the news – Public input needed

    City Of Bismarck Formally Petitions PSC To Become An Intervener

    Last week, after postponing a decision on the resolution presented to them, the Bismarck City Commission unanimously voted in favor of petitioning the Public Service Commission to become an intervener.

    The commission voted to allocate $25,000 to hire outside counsel in October to evaluate whether it would be likely that Bismarck could attain intervenor status.

    The city retained the services of Pat Zomer from the law firm Moss & Barnett in Minneapolis. Zomer has practiced before the North Dakota PSC before. 

    City Attorney Jannelle Combs told the commission Tuesday that there would be additional financial costs with further action in the case.

    Combs told the Tribune that the additional costs would cover attorney fees for Zomer’s services. The price tag would ultimately depend on whether intervenor status is granted to the city, and how the hearings are scheduled going forward, she said. Outside counsel is necessary because the city’s legal office does not have the capability to familiarize itself with PSC rules and practices quickly, according to Combs.

    Separately, the city voted to postpone its decision regarding whether it would pass a resolution in support of local ordinances taking precedence in pipeline siting decisions that would be submitted to the PSC. The resolution was sent to Commissioner Greg Zenker by Dustin Gawrylow, managing director of the North Dakota Watchdog Network. Burleigh and Emmons counties earlier this year placed restrictions on pipelines carrying hazardous materials within their borders, in response to Summit’s project.

    For their part, Summit Carbon Solutions has tried to make this project about propping up the ethanol industry – an industry that would not exist without government mandates and subsidies.

    “Without this project, carbon capture and sequestration, the future of ethanol is really unknown,” said Sabrina Zenor, “And we want to be partners in these communities. We are looking forward to continuing to partner with ethanol plants. We have capacity to add more ethanol plants into our line. We truly believe that carbon capture and sequestration is the future of ethanol in this country, and we believe that ethanol has a place in this country in the energy sphere.”

    North Dakota Energy Council

    Bombshell: Summit Says “project isn’t for oil recovery”

    For months, there has been a concerted effort to claim that the Summit Carbon Solution carbon dioxide pipeline was ultimately about enhanced oil recovery. An obviously coordinated campaign that involved many notable public figures has been taking place…

    Read more

    7 days ago · 2 likes · Dustin Gawrylow

    Traditional conservatives and elected Republicans have decried the government’s involvement in promoting, subsidizing, and mandating ethanol for decades.

    In 2016, then Congressman-Cramer wrote an Op-Ed calling for the complete elimination of these mandates.

    So it is interesting to now see Republicans come out of the woodwork to flip-flop declaring the without the Summit CO2 pipeline, ethanol won’t survive.

    Farmers across the country are becoming resentful of this tactic:

    Craig Schaunaman, who farms thousands of acres, has been invested in the ethanol industry since its early days and even served on the board of an ethanol plant.

    But a carbon-capture pipeline supported by dozens of ethanol plants would cross his land, and he’s against it, even though ethanol officials say the pipeline is crucial to the future viability of the industry.

    “Eminent domain should not be used for a private company’s gain,” Schaunaman said.

    Schaunaman received a letter in mid-2021 from Summit Carbon Solutions, one of the companies planning to build a carbon-capture pipeline across the Midwest, requesting permission to conduct surveys on his land that would involve digging.

    “I told them they were not allowed to do surveying without compensation,” he said.

    By the fall of 2021, Summit approached him with an initial offer that he considered “under market value” to place a permanent easement on his land. By May 2022, the company had offered him “three times as much,” but Schaunaman remained adamant about not allowing the construction of a pipeline carrying potentially hazardous liquified carbon dioxide on his property, saying, “It’s about property rights for me.”

    It’s pretty clear that those in favor of this taxpayer-funded boondoggle will continue to try to justify its abuse of landowners.

    One program, called 45Q, offers tax credits for collecting CO2 and storing it permanently underground. The credit was created in 2008, but the Inflation Reduction Act boosted the value to up to $85 per metric ton of CO2, extended the timeline for funding and made it so companies can get direct payment rather than a tax credit.

    The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation predicted last summer the expanded program would cost $3.2 billion through 2031, providing usage levels stayed the same.

    But a March analysis by the Brookings Institution predicts 45Q — with its new rules and more lucrative benefits — will balloon through 2033.

    “In our modeling, we came up with a number closer to $100 billion over a decade because the tax credit is generous enough that many existing sources of CO2 may find it economical to pursue carbon capture and sequestration,” said Neil Mehrotra, assistant vice president and policy adviser at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and a co-author of the Brookings paper.

    In future articles, we will highlight how this project is itself an Unfunded Mandate for state and local governments, who are in no position to pay for the specialized equipment needed to deal with the worst-case scenario.