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Ill-advised Referendum Is Anti-Landowner and Anti-Agriculture

(Pierre, SD) A new ill-advised campaign committee was formed this week to launch a campaign to refer SB 201 passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Noem. The referendum is anti-landowner and anti-agriculture.

“Senate Bill 201 is a major victory for landowners, but if a referendum is successful the landowners will ultimately lose and Summit Carbon will still win because pipelines already preempt county ordinances,” said Jason Glodt, founding member of the SD Ag Alliance, “The bottom line is that a referendum can only kill the Landowner Bill of rights, it can’t stop federal preemption over county ordinances.”

“A referendum of SB 201 makes no sense because it would only hurt landowners by killing the Landowner Bill of Rights,” said Rob Skjonsberg, founding Member of the SD Ag Alliance. “If the referendum is successful Summit will just sue in federal court and win and landowners will get nothing.”

The large majority of landowners across South Dakota support the carbon capture pipeline project. Nearly 75% of the landowners on the proposed route have already signed voluntary easements and polling shows strong support across the state with Republican voters.

Last month, the South Dakota Ag Alliance released poll results showing a majority (55%) of Republican primary voters support carbon capture pipelines when landowners are given further protections and additional compensation.

When asked the question, “Would you support carbon capture pipelines in South Dakota, if the legislature provided for more protections and additional compensation for South Dakota landowners?”, Fifty-five percent of Republicans said yes. Twenty-two percent said no and twenty-three percent were undecided.

The poll was conducted by Co/efficient, a national research and analytics company that has done work in all 50 states. The poll included 1,017 likely Republican Primary voters.  It was conducted on January 30th and January 31st, 2024, using mobile text message responses and landline phone interviews. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.06%.  A poll memorandum is attached.

Senate Bill 201 passed the Senate 24-10 and the House 39-31. The legislation includes the most significant sections in Landowner Bill of Rights with extensive protections for landowners and millions of dollars of reoccurring payments for both landowners and counties. The package does not change local control over zoning.  

Landowner Bill of Rights

  1. Compensation for Landowners: Requires carbon capture pipelines to pay landowners $500 to access their land for surveying (HB 1185) and at least .50 cents per linear foot of pipeline through their property in the form of property tax relief (SB 201)
  2. Compensation for Counties: Allows counties to collect $1.00 per linear foot of pipeline that runs through their county. At least 50% of the surcharge must be used for property tax relief for landowners on the route. The remaining revenue can be spent by counties at their discretion. (SB 201)
  3. Indemnity for Landowners: Requires pipeline companies to indemnify landowners for liability. (SB 201)
  4. Minimum Burial Depth: Requires pipeline to be buried at least 4 ft deep, exceeding federal regulations of 3 ft (SB 201)
  5. Disclosure of Dispersion Models: Requires carbon pipeline companies to make dispersion modeling public. (SB 201)
  6. Lifetime Drain Tile Repairs: Requires pipeline companies to repair any damage to drain tile (SB 201)
  7. Impact Mitigation: Requires pipeline companies to file an impact mitigation plan. (SB 201)
  8. Leak Liability: Makes carbon pipeline companies liable to the landowner for any damage caused by leaks.  (SB 201)
  9. Land Surveyors Must be from SD: Requires land surveyors be South Dakota residents. (SB 201)
  10. Easements Terminate if Not Used in 5 years: Easements for pipelines terminate if pipeline does not receive PUC permit in 5 years and terminates after 5 years of non-use. (HB 1186)
  11. Bans Perpetual Easements: Limits easements to a maximum of 99 years (SB 201)
  12. Information Disclosure: Requires carbon pipeline companies to report linear footage of pipes in counties and disclose if they claim a tax credit. (SB 201) Landowner will also receive results of survey and examination and contact information for person in charge of inspection. (HB 1185)
  13. Mortgage Limitations: Protects landowners by restricting mortgages held by an easement holder so the mortgage only attaches to the easement holders rights and not to the land or obligate the property owner. (HB 1186)
  14. Easements Must Be Written: Requires companies to put easements in writing. (HB 1186)
  15. Survey and Access Limits:  Landowners reserve right to challenge the right to survey in circuit court. Landowners must be given 30 days written notice and include details about date, time, duration, location and contact information. (HB 1185)
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