Pipeline’s potential effect on development hurts tax base, landowner says

Howard Malloy, pictured at his Bismarck office on Dec. 12, 2023, is opposing the construction of the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline on his property north of Mandan. He testified to the Public Service Commission on May 29, 2024. (Amy Dalrymple/North Dakota Monitor)

The owner of land north of Mandan that could become a housing development testified Wednesday that a Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline running through the property would cost local governments “hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost tax revenue.” 

Howard Malloy of Bismarck said he stands to make more than $5 million from turning 175 acres of land into a high-end housing development but that Summit has routed its carbon capture pipeline down the middle of the property. 

“This would be prime real estate, high-value homes would go on it, and it’d be hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost tax revenue,” Malloy said. “The only way I would acquiesce to a pipeline going through it would be compensation for that loss.” 

Malloy was the first witness called in opposition to the Summit carbon capture and storage project. Wednesday was the second of five days of North Dakota Public Service Commission hearings in Bismarck on the $8 billion project. 

Summit seeks to capture carbon emissions from 57 ethanol plants in five states and pipe carbon dioxide to North Dakota for underground storage. Summit needs a permit from the PSC to build the pipeline to the storage site northwest of Bismarck. 

Malloy said he had a “good conversation” with Summit Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Powell about his concerns in July 2023. He said Powell told him he would take the concerns back to his Summit team. Malloy said he never heard back from Powell.

Malloy, through attorney Brian Jorde of Domina Law, said he offered two alternative routes to Summit in a letter on April 30. 

One alternative would be to run the pipeline across the southern end of his property, though that would still make some of the land unsuitable for residential development. 

Malloy acknowledged that Summit had recently responded to Jorde. 

“I don’t have any desire to kill the pipeline,” Malloy said. 

When a Summit attorney asked why Malloy didn’t testify at the first round of PSC hearings in 2023, Mally said he had not been asked to testify but that his attorney asked him to testify in this round. 

He said the 175 acres is bordered on the north and east of Square Butte Creek, about a mile west of the Missouri River and about 10 miles north of Mandan. 

“It’s a beautiful piece of ground,” Malloy said. 

Malloy, who owns Bismarck Title Co., also is a defendant among a group of landowners who have refused to grant Summit access to survey their property. A decision in that case is pending before the North Dakota Supreme Court. 

When asked by a Summit attorney if he would grant survey access to Summit to assess the possibility of reroute, Malloy said he could not. 

Summit on Tuesday offered a witness, land appraiser Jeff Olson of LandVest in Wisconsin, who said he has been licensed in North Dakota for 10 years. 

Olson said that based on comparative sales, the pipeline would have minimal impact on land value. 

“I agree with the concerns, but I haven’t seen market evidence to support an impact on value that coincides with the concerns,” Olson said. 

Olson did say that a CO2 pipeline easement would likely shrink the potential pool of buyers. 

Olson based some of his opinion on a farmland sale in North Dakota where some tracts had an existing CO2 pipeline running through it and others did not. 

He also cited a farmland sale in Iowa where buyers were made aware that there was a Summit easement on the property and got a better price than nearby properties without an easement. 

Testimony is to continue Thursday, Friday and Monday in Bismarck with a public hearing set for  June 4 in Linton. 

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