Summit gets another shot at carbon pipeline in North Dakota

(The Center Square) – Summit Carbon Solutions will get another chance at a carbon pipeline in North Dakota after a ruling by the state’s public service commission.

State rules supersede local zoning ordinances based on changes made in 2019, said Randy Christmann, chairman of the North Dakota Public Service Commission.

“I know it may not be very popular to declare local control is being superseded, but when it comes to these pipelines, not electric transmission lines, not power plants, but pipelines, we don’t have that flexibility anymore,” Christmann said.

Burleigh County and a group called the Bismarck Area Intervenors argued that the state rule only applied to construction permits, and SCS only asked for a certificate of site compatibility. However, the issue before the PSC was not whether the state rules preempt local zoning but whether the preemption is automatic, according to the order.

“The Commission concludes that, based on the plain language of N.D.C.C. § 49-22.1-13, the approval of a route permit for a gas or liquid transmission facility automatically supersedes and preempts local land use or zoning regulations, except for road use agreements, even though local ordinances may be filed for Commission review and consideration,” the order said.

Summit will get a new slate of hearings as it seeks approval for the estimated 305 miles of pipeline that would run through the state.

Christmann said it would likely be close to four weeks before a hearing could start. The pipeline application has almost as many documents as the Dakota Access Pipeline case. Within the last eight days, the commission received 2,000 pages of new documents.

Summit said in December that it had acquired 80% of the land needed for the pipeline and rerouted it in Burleigh, Emmons, and Dickey counties.

The carbon dioxide pipeline will also traverse through Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. Members of the Iowa Public Service Commission held a series of hearings in the fall but have not made a decision. South Dakota regulators rejected Summit’s application.