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BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — The Northwest Landowners Association gathered on Wednesday at the Bismarck Public Library to discuss a lawsuit being filed in a fight for their right to private property — with some saying that the problem is not only the proposed CO2 pipeline by Summit Carbon Solutions but also pore space looming overhead.
The lawsuit deals with amalgamation, a term that is being applied to justify the use of private pore space to store wastewater. Derek Braaten, the attorney representing the Landowners Association, claims that “amalgamation” equates to “taking.” He would prefer that, rather than resorting to amalgamation, the state would rely on eminent domain– something that is truly guaranteed in the Constitution.
He also takes issue with the use of the term “equitable” compensation, rather than the “just” compensation that is required for eminent domain.
“‘Equitable compensation’ is not a constitutional phrase,” stated Braaten. “‘Equitable compensation’ is not the constitutional ‘just compensation’ that is required in order for a taking of private property. It’s just a word they made up, and they call it ‘equitable compensation’ because it sounds like ‘just compensation’ — and when we get into this lawsuit, they’re going to try and argue that it’s really the same thing. But the bottom line is that until a court says so, that’s not the case.”
The group says that although the battle will take years, it is one they are willing to fight.