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PSC rules local ordinances cannot supersede state law

PSC Chairman Randy Christmann
PSC Chairman Randy Christmann

The Public Service Commission has ruled that state law does not allow a local government to pass more restrictive pipeline ordinances than are in state law.

This comes because some counties, cities and townships passed restrictive ordinances to deal with the proposed Summit carbon dioxide pipeline. That pipeline would take CO2 from ethanol plants in the upper Midwest to a sequestration site in Mercer County.

Commission chairman Randy Christmann said the Legislature changed the law in 2019. He read from the law.

"It says, 'Except as provided in this section, a permit for the construction of a gas or liquid transmission facility within a designated corridor supersedes or pre-empts any local land use or zoning regulations,'" Christmann said. "Pretty clear."

The PSC will schedule another siting hearing about the proposed route of the pipeline. Christmann said that will be done later. He said there have been a lot of documents filed in the Summit case – rivaling the documents filed in the Dakota Access Pipeline siting case.

"Our staff and our legal counsel needs to review that," Christmann said. "We need to make sure there isn't any detail missed. The public needs that information to know how they're going to react in the hearing. This is going to take some time."

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