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Money Doesn’t Talk, It Screams

Editorial | March 16th, 2022

By Sabrina Hornung

sabrina@hpr1.com

Our opinion: We’re like canaries in the carbon shaft.

There’s been a low rumble on the prairie this winter and for once it’s not due to the weather. Summit Carbon Solutions is looking to lay more than 2000 miles of carbon capture pipeline, going through five states and linking to 31 ethanol plants and one fertilizer plant, carbon being a waste product of ethanol plants.

The end of the carbon line would ultimately end up just northwest of Bismarck and in the Hazen area near Beulah and good ol’ Governor Burgum is one of their biggest cheerleaders.

I find it telling that the most powerful man in North Dakota wants to treat our state as a dump ground for hazardous waste, I mean… pumping a waste product into the earth – what could possibly go wrong?

With regard to the pipeline, when or if there’s a Carbon leak, it’s colorless and odorless. It sucks the oxygen out of the air, causing whoever is nearby, livestock or humans, to suffocate. It’s heavy and lies close to the ground so a basement won’t help you. One farmer from Leola SD mused that it would be best to climb a tree in case of a leak. If only we’d have known about this BEFORE a large number of the shelterbelts had been removed.

Yessiree, Governor Burgum was voted Forbes best entrepreneurial governor in the nation in 2017 and he’s thinking what’s best for the pocket book rather than the folks who voted for him.

At least Harold Hamm can sleep well knowing you get what you pay for when it comes to North Dakota politicians.

So Doug, let’s get real for a moment here, shall we?

You might not realize this, but some of us still live out on the prairie. We’re resourceful people and oftentimes we have to wear a number of hats to keep our communities safe and thriving. Many make their living off of this land that you’re in favor of desecrating with this pipeline.

I’ve run into a lot of farmers out here who are clearly not in favor of these easements. They worry about how their land will be altered. They worry about disturbances in their topsoil and how that will affect their future crops. They’re worried about their livestock getting injured, and their water getting polluted. This land isn’t just a hobby, it’s their livelihood, their legacy. It's their way of life.

And no, these landowners aren’t falling prey to propaganda. The third party Summit reps hosting Q&A meetings in rural North Dakota are providing more Qs than As, encouraging folks not to talk to their neighbors about their easements and not to consult lawyers, because then they can’t work it out together. If they keep talking like that, they might end up as my next manipulative ex-boyfriend.

On February 25 a Q&A meeting was held in Wishek and a lot of questions were asked ranging from environmental issues, to ag issues to what kind of training and equipment first responders will need in case of an emergency. The reps’ answer was, “Well, that’s above my paygrade,” or “It’s too early to tell.”

Yeah, because we’re the canaries in this carbon shaft.

S-U-B-M-I-T TO S-U-M-M-I-T— GOOOO CARBON! Now hold your pom poms Doug...

There are two rural hospitals in McIntosh County. Wishek has 24 beds, Ashley has 20 beds. Lehr is the smallest town in the nation to occupy two counties and in case of a really BAD emergency, the McIntosh County side of Lehr would be lucky to have a bed. As for the Logan County side of Lehr, we’ll just hope they’re good at holding their breath.

It’s almost as if these Summit folks don’t really care about getting people to willingly sign on, I suppose they suspect they’ll have the governor’s blessing to cry eminent domain– but according to one rep when asked, they “don't like to use those words,” then again I suppose they leave a bitter taste in their mouths considering the lawsuit going on in Iowa.

In fact, Summit’s people didn’t even grace the County Commission with their presence until March 10. I can tell you, the commissioners were anything but impressed by their lack of communication.

They are in charge of emergency services and their phones have been ringing off the hook from not only folks from their county but from surrounding counties. This not only made Summit look bad. It made the Commissioners look bad, and the difference is, I know those commissioners are good people– they work for the common good of the county, they aren’t treating their constituents like they’re disposable and they’re definitely not campaigning for greener pastures.

No one from Summit contacted the local press to let anyone know what was going on. In fact, there were a number of phone calls at the newspaper office from concerned citizens wondering if anyone at the paper knew about that February meeting.

To quote the ND artist Modern Man, “Talk is cheap and money doesn’t talk, it screams.”

I don’t own land and I don’t have a pony in the show but I sure hope for the best for these landowners. No one wants to see their neighbors suffer. No one wants to see their neighbors exploited. I hope they put up one heckuva fight – this is a story to keep an eye on.

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