Defying the odds: Meet the attorney for 1,000 clients who beat two pipeline companies

Brian Jorde said most people didn’t think he or his clients had much of a chance to stop a pair of carbon dioxide pipelines after the plans were announced two years ago.

“‘You all are a nuisance. We all know this is getting permitted.’ That has been the attitude of these pipelines since day one, and here we are,” Jorde said.

In September, with Jorde representing more than 1,000 affected landowners, the Public Utilities Commission rejected permit applications from both of the companies proposing carbon pipelines in the state.

Both projects carried multi-billion-dollar price tags. Project backers sought to capture carbon dioxide emissions from ethanol plants in multiple states and transport it in liquefied form to be “sequestered” at an underground storage site. Tax credits are available from the federal government for every metric ton of sequestered carbon dioxide, as an incentive to prevent emissions of the heat-trapping greenhouse gas.