Oral Arguments Today in Bottineau District Court for NWLA Lawsuit

Derrick is in Bottineau today for oral arguments related to a lawsuit challenging state law related to underground carbon dioxide storage. From the North Dakota Monitor‘s article:

The Northwest Landowners Association alleges the two laws regulating use of pore space for underground storage in North Dakota, passed in 2009 and 2021, are unconstitutional.

 

A key provision contained in both laws is being challenged by the group. That provision allows the North Dakota Industrial Commission to forcibly include the pore space of nonconsenting landowners in a proposed storage project if the owners of at least 60% of the project area have already consented. Nonconsenting landowners are guaranteed to be “equitably compensated,” as determined by the Industrial Commission.

 

The North Dakota Constitution requires a property owner receive “just compensation,” as determined by a jury and precedent, if their private property is taken or damaged for public use.

 

The landowner group asserts the discrepancies between the law and the constitution — namely that the law does not require “just compensation” and has the Industrial Commission decide payment instead of a jury — make the laws and resulting permitting process unconstitutional.

 

“This blatant attempt to bypass constitutional and other safeguards for private property is arbitrary,” the association stated in a court filing, later adding, “This finding is not a suitable replacement for just compensation and the safeguards guaranteed by the constitution of North Dakota.”

For more detail, check out the full article here.

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