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HB 1084: Limit Eminent Domain to Projects for Public Use

Hey, might those right-wing radicals in Pierre be offering to help South Dakota landowners fight the wealthy carbon-dioxide pipeliners who want to take their land?

House Bill 1084, filed by rookie radical Representative Karla Lems (R-16/Canton), is titled “An Act to grant a common carrier the right of eminent domain for public use.” But it actually amends our existing eminent domain statute for common carriers—SDCL 49-2-12, “A common carrier may exercise the right of eminent domain in acquiring right of way as prescribed by statute”—by inserting the condition “for the public use”. Adding that condition would limit the ability of common carriers to seize public land to situations where they can demonstrate that the public will use their project. Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions isn’t offering all of us the chance to vent our carbon dioxide into their proposed pipeline network; they’re just negotiating with a few private parties across the plains, and they’ll get really mad if any of us commoners try to touch their pipeline.

Restricting eminent domain to projects for public use is exactly the sort of sensible reform, in the spirit of the Founding Fathers, that Democrats were talking about last year. Yet no Democrats have joined the 16 radical right-wingers (e.g., the Senate sponsors are Tom Pischke and Julie Frye-Mueller) sponsoring HB 1084.

Democrats, Freedom Caucus—do you folks not talk to each other?


  1. Ed 2023-02-03

    This is a great bill and deserves to be passed. There is bi-partisan support on it. FYI, Summit has 18 registered lobbyists in Pierre to try and derail sensible legislation like this.

  2. All Mammal 2023-02-03

    Bow chicka wow wow. Get it on with your bad selves, Ms. Lems, JFM and Mr. Pischke. This bill is a hot one! Thank you and get er passed. We’re rooting for you on this one.

  3. Jeff Barth 2023-02-03

    The pipelines are a total boondoggle. Ethanol plants think they will make more money but for the same $4.5Billion we could give each of the $100 Million.

    The project is a waste of federal money, damaging the land and endangering people and every breathing animal.

    Mining the ore, smelting the steel, making it into pipe, bulldozing 2000 miles of it into the ground and then claiming environmental victory is crap.

    It is not a public project. Imagine I took your land, using Eminent Domain, to build strip club.

    Just stop it!

  4. larry kurtz 2023-02-03

    Ripping up ancestral lands for greenwashing? How conservative.

  5. e platypus onion 2023-02-03

    Lewis and Clark water line recently got more federal funding. Holdout landowners in iowa are being sued and losing in court. The court is forcing landowners to allow surveyors on their properties. The pipeline in iowa, at least, has a rigged outcome since former guv terry Braindead is involved.

  6. Richard Schriever 2023-02-03

    e platy – LCRWS is essentially a public use. Literally 100’s of thousands of individuals use the product of its carrying. No one will use one iota of the CO2 pipe’s output.

  7. Donald Pay 2023-02-03

    I agree with Ed. Pass the bill.

    Larry, I like water pipelines that tap the Missouri River for domestic use purposes, but I’m not sure about the need in the Black Hills. There is good quality water, but they need to keep gold and uranium mining out of the Hills to protect the water resources there. They also need to stem the growth of housing in the Hills and direct growth outside the race track. Until they start growing smartly I would hate to see them get any water from the Missouri River. But, if water is delivered, I think a chunk of the money ought to go to the tribes for use of what is their water.

  8. larry kurtz 2023-02-03

    Watering feedlots, a ramen factory in Belle Fourche, the Bismarck Trail Ranch and Rally campgrounds with my tax dollars is a boondoggle.

  9. Edwin Arndt 2023-02-03

    “limit the ability of common carriers to seize public land”. Cory, did you mean to say private land?
    Eminent domain is generally used against private owners, as far as I know.

  10. e platypus onion 2023-02-03

    RS, I should have identified Summit carbon pipeline in my post. My bad. They are the ones suing. L&C is definitely wanted.

  11. Mark Anderson 2023-02-03

    Just ask Vera Coking, the grandma who kicked both Penthouse and Trump. She beat Trump in Eminent domain. The Supreme Court has upheld taking private property from one individual to another in Kelo v. City of New London. So I imagine this would lead to a court fight between Republicans?

  12. Jake 2023-02-03

    A good bill for sure-one that really serves THE PEOPLE. (and I don’t mean the GOP court’s ruling that corporations ‘are People!)

  13. Donald Pay 2023-02-03

    Larry, I hear you. I don’t like some of the users of the water in these water pipelines, either. One of the reasons I like tying the state’s water use to the Missouri River is that it creates a huge citizen force against something like a nuclear plant or other objectionable development project would need to site close to the river where half the state gets its drinking water. Face it, the place where they would likely put a nuke plant or other objectionable large-scale development that required water is right along the river. It’s an automatic NO, if they tried to do that now.

  14. All Mammal 2023-02-03

    Sadly, they’ve already sold out our water to mining and ignore the zebra mussels that will soon seize up the hardware that releases water to Rapid City from Pactola. Also while Custer is building a wastewater discharge pipe into French Creek. They sold out our water and our mayor and important ’stakeholders’ talk about the multi billion dollar water pipeline pumping receding Missouri River water uphill hundreds of miles to the Hills like it is already a done deal. How mentally inept.
    At the same time, landowners have not signed up for the effort to clean up our waterways after getting an F grade due to all their manure and e-coli in SD waterways. So, the incentive is increasing from a couple thousand dollars to $13,000 to cajole toxic landowners to instal a 50 yard buffer zone along the water flowing through their land. That incentive is taxpayer funded. I got an incentive for ya. High dollar fines for any loser NOT putting in a buffer zone. And JAIL time for polluting any land and water.
    Oh, and the guy who owns the forest and is told it is his to chop down for profit, he gets the governor to bash the forest service for not liking their analysis. What a hateful state. They should have to drink money. I’d say Custer lives.

  15. larry kurtz 2023-02-04

    And golf courses—taxpayer money spent on carving through Native America for white privilege? What’s next: a Center for American Exceptionalism in Spearditch?

  16. Arlo Blundt 2023-02-04

    Well, the far right, lunatic wing of the Republican Party does have a Populist slant. Populism always crops up in the radical movements as it’s the most oppressed who look for and are open to a radical solution to the inequality of it all. Eminent Domain for a scheme to use carbon capture as an investment opportunity is far different from a more comprehensive program of water development using Missouri River water. All South Dakotans, most egregiously the Tribes, have sacrificed greatly to create the Missouri River Reservoirs, with too few paybacks to the Common Good.

  17. Mark Anderson 2023-02-04

    The election power Arlo. Where does it all go ?

  18. All Mammal 2023-02-04

    Mr. Blundt- I agree projects to give the public access to water is a gesture of democracy (not always for everyone, sadly).
    A possibility to explore prior to a multi billion dollar water pump for an area like Rapid City, which should be good to go with fresh H2O due to the reservoir already built to supply the area, would be to take care of it’s current source and urge conservation. Pactola Reservoir, it seems, is already written off because it was sold from under us (mining, lack of funding for invasive species prevention, no legislation so far) while banking on the feds to put up the financing for a new source from over a hundred miles away. It is wasteful and irresponsible when countless people already have the Missouri resource spoken for.
    I sure hope that pipeline doesn’t get the mussel larvae which causes infestation so it can’t flow. Texas has experienced the massive cost to infrastructure due to inaction.

  19. larry kurtz 2023-02-05

    And lawns!

    So, instead of empowering communities to harvest snow melt and rain water rural communities continue to be dependent on politicians who exploit need so they’re begging the Biden administration for more money. South Dakota’s dairies are wreaking habitat havoc all along the state’s border with Minnesota and like most of the state, southwestern Minnesota and northwestern Iowa are Republican strongholds where dairies, swine units and other concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) have devastated water supplies by contaminating wells with nitrates.

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