August 31, 2023

OLIVER COUNTY PLANNING & ZONING Commission was called to order at 7:01 PM. Members present were Randy Schmidt, Ray Schmidt, Lonnie Henke, Corey Hintz, Wyman Scheetz, and Jaden Schmidt (Secretary).

Guests present were: Bill Tveit, Sue Huntington, Karen Meyer, Allen Maize, Kirk Maize, Linda Maize, Bonnie Haupt, Mike Haupt, Charles Tuttle, Lanny Kenner, Lenora Kenner, Kevin Frederick, Fred Ulm, Donna Smith, Dean Silbernagel, Jule Silbernagel, Sandy Dennis, Crag Miller, Derek Tennyson, Krystal Tennyson, Jerol Gohrick, Robert Bohrer, Douglas Pearson, Terry Pearson, Amanda Hoffer, Jay Volk, Delvin Boehm, Marv Abraham, Jeff Skaare, Keith Boehm, Cassie Smith, Gary Smith

Lonnie Henke moved and Ray Schmidt seconded the motion to approve the agenda. All in favor, none opposed; motion carried.

Wyman Scheetz moved and Randy Schmidt seconded the motion to approve the minutes of the August 10 meeting. All in favor, none opposed; motion carried.

Jaden Schmidt, Secretary took over as temporary chair to reorganize the board. Nominations were open for Chair. Ray Schmidt nominated Corey Hintz for chair. Randy Schmidt seconded the motion. With no further nominations, nominations were closed. A unanimous vote for chair was cast for Corey Hintz. All in favor; none opposed; motion carried.

Corey Hintz, Chair, took over and opened nominations for Vice Chair. Wyman Scheetz nominated Lonnie Henke and Ray Schmidt seconded the nomination. With no further nominations, nominations were closed. A unanimous vote for vice chair was cast for Lonnie Henke. All in favor; none opposed; motion carried.

Discussion was held on updating the Permit Fees. Jaden Schmidt, secretary, presented a few different options for the board. Lonnie Henke moved to recommend to the County Commissioners, the list of suggested fees presented by Jaden Schmidt. Ray Schmidt seconded the motion. All in favor, none opposed; motion carried.

Kent Albers has applied for a Conditional Use permit for a Covered Feed Lot Operation. Lonnie Henke moved and Ray Schmidt seconded to approve the Conditional Use permit. A Roll Call vote was held: Randy Schmidt – Aye; Lonnie Henke – Aye; Wyman Scheetz – Aye; Ray Schmidt – Aye; Corey Hintz – Aye. The Conditional Use permit was approved.

Summit Carbon has reapplied for their two Conditional Use permits for the KJ Hintz site and TB Leingang sites.

State’s Attorney, John Mahoney, put together the list of conditions the board discussed at the previous meeting for the board to review. The list is attached.

The Board opened the floor for public comment.

Bill Tveit, Representative of District 33, addressed the board, asking them to truly consider and think about their decision. He recommended the board add conditions that allow the county to reserve the right to stop flow of the pipeline and injections if Summit is not in compliance of their permit.

Charles Tuttle addressed the board, asking them consider and discuss the safety concerns that are being brought up before approving any permit.

Marvin Abraham addressed the board. He gave a handout of a letter from an engineer that has many comments, concerns and questions in regards to unanswered questions of CO2 injection wells. The letter is attached to these minutes.

Lanny Kenner addressed the board. His comments pertained to the benefit of carbon and that it should not be sequestered and put in the ground.

Alan Maize, resident, addressed the board. He lives 1.5 miles from one of the proposed wells. He has many safety concerns. He is asking the board to include in their conditions what is expected as far as response, types of equipment and plans before approval of the permit. He also requested the board ask for a timeline of response plan, such as notification and the EMS response. He is asking the board to ask for clarification on who will provide what and how. He also commented that the proposed wells are Class VI, which is a new technology with new problems yet to be discovered.

Kevin Frederick addressed the board, stating that he has talked to several insurance companies that residents will not be able to obtain liability insurance to cover possible issues with the pipeline or wells if the pipeline or well are on their land. Companies are also not renewing coverage if easements are signed. He is asking the board to consider this and look into it before approving anything.

The Board addressed Summit and asked about liability. Jay Volk addressed this claim and read from point #18 from the PSC findings;

 “A number of commenters provided that the Project will make them unable to purchase liability insurance due to the risk of a release. In the pre-filed testimony of Micah Rorie on June 1, 2023, SCS testified that it would hold the liability for a rupture of the Project unless the rupture was caused by a third-party line strike. Based upon this testimony, the Commission finds that no additional requirements are needed to ensure the Project will have minimal adverse impacts on the liability insurance requirements of the landowners.”

If there is a third-party strike that was on purpose, Summit will not be held liable. Jay stated that if it was an accidental strike, Summit would be liable.

Crystal Tenneson addressed the board and requested if she could ask a question of Summit to clarify the liability issue. She asked if a leak should happen on her property but affect her neighbor, who is liable, her or Summit. Jay Volk stated that unless the leak was due to negligence by a third party, Summit would cover the liability.

Kurt Swenson, resident, addressed the board. He read the indemnification clause that Summit put out. “Summit will indemnify and hold landowners harmless for any loss, damage, claim or action resulting from the project, with the sole exception of cases where there is gross negligence or willful misconduct.”

Kurt asked the board to take into consideration that the public will bare the risks of any negative effects from the pipeline and that public safety should be the number one issue and concern that the board and county look at. He requested that no approval should be given unless dispersion models are released.

Gerol Gorick addressed the board. He made a statement that the depth is only 4 feet, which is not below the frost line. He suggested that the pipeline go at least 12 feet deep.

Discussion was also held on the ten year tax abatement/exemption that is in NDCC. Summit will not have to pay taxes to the county for 10 years. County would receive in lieu of payments, but that money would not come from Summit, but the state.

Discussion was held on a safety plan. Jay Volk addressed the board in regards to safety. Any safety plans will be covered in the Class VI hearings with the NDIC and could not be addressed with the county P&Z board at this time.

Discussion was held on the plume study and why it is not released. Jay Volk of SCS stated it is due to the fact that the pipeline and wells are “critical infrastructure” and they are protecting themselves from sabotage.

Discussion was held on where the current permit for the NDIC is at. There is a draft permit in, but no final permit has been submitted. The PSC has denied the route permit and no other states have approved the pipeline.

Alyssa Ferris, McHenry County addressed the board, stating people and state/county infrastructure are more important.

Karen Meyer, Solen, addressed the board, requesting denial of the permit for the safety of the citizens.

More discussion was held by the board. With the psi that is coming in the pipeline, Wyman Scheetz, board member stated that a shut off valve every 20 miles is an insult to the public as far as safety is concerned.

Jay Volk addressed this and stated that he misspoke and that the shut off valves are closer together the closer they get to the wells.

The question of why the county first for permits was asked of Summit. Jay Volk stated that is the process Summit is following and how the lines of jurisdiction falls. He also stated that they are coming to the county first, because they need more information from the stratigraphic wells from the cores before they would proceed with the wells.

Craig Miller, Emmons County, asked the board to ‘just say no’.

Robert Bohrer, resident, addressed concerns about the safety. He is only 5 miles from the pipeline along the county line. He is in a low-lying area and CO2 is a dense gas, should it leak, he would be in danger. He asked the board to deny the permit.

Kent Albers addressed the board asking what the difference between this line and the line at DGC in Beulah was.

Shannon Mikula, Minnkota/Project Tundra, addressed the previous question, stating that the DGC line went to a Class II well, that has lower regulations for safety than the SCS line that would go to a Class VI well, that has higher regulations for safety.

The board discussed further and aske SA Mahoney if the county can “stop the flow” if there is non-compliance. Legally, the county does have authority and can with an ordinance or terms to the permit.

Wyman Scheetz moved and Ray Schmidt seconded the motion to deny both Conditional Use permits for Summit Carbon Solutions for the following reasons:

  •          The Planning & Zoning Board has not received enough thorough information from Summit to make an informed decision in regards to the wells.
  •          The Planning & Zoning Board determined that the safety concerns of the residents, landowners, and the Board have not been met due to the lack of a plan, information and modeling that has not been given.
  •          The Planning & Zoning Board determined that the lack of information and straightforward answers about liability concerns of residents, landowners and the Board have not been met.
  •          The Planning & Zoning Board determined that there is a lack of transparency from Summit Carbon Solutions that makes a decision in regards to the wells difficult to determine.
  •          The Planning & Zoning Board determined that there is no benefit to Oliver County in terms of financial, economic or for the welfare of the residents, landowners and the county.

A roll call vote was held: Randy Schmidt – Aye, Ray Schmidt – Aye, Wyman Scheetz – Aye, Lonnie Henke – Abstained due to potential financial gain from SCS.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:01 PM. The next meeting of the Oliver County Planning & Zoning Board will take place on September 28th at 7 PM in the Oliver County Courthouse meeting room.


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Jaden Schmidt, Secretary                                                    Chairman of the Board