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HB 1133: Lems, Hansen Trying to Protect Landowners from Eminent Domain for CO2 Pipeline; Other Republicans Prefer Big Business over Property Rights

Rookie Representative Karla Lems (R-16/Canton) withdrew her House Bill 1084 Friday. That good bill would have tightened up the use of eminent domain. But the withdrawal of HB 1084 doesn’t mean Rep. Lems is backing away from fighting the big carbon-dioxide developers from Iowa who want to run a CO2 pipeline across Lems’s home county of Lincoln and many other East River counties. She has a much better bill, House Bill 1133, which would deny the CO2-pipeliners the ability to take land for their project through eminent domain.

In her first version of HB 1133, Lems sought to deny carbon dioxide pipelines the status of “common carrier”. Common carriers get to use eminent domain. Change the law as Lems proposed, and carbon dioxide pipelines could not use eminent domain; those developers would have to convince every landowner along the route to voluntarily sell right of way.

But in House State Affairs today, Lems decided to take a different tack. She asked for and got an amendment that replaces her original language with this restriction:

For purposes of this section, the term, commodity, means a product that is intended for commerce and is being transported to a point of distribution, consumption, or processing, within or outside of this state. The term does not include a product that is disposed of in geological storage or used in a manner that allows its owner, shipper, or the shipper’s customer to qualify for a tax credit or a direct payment, pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 45Q [House Bill 1133, new language proposed for addition to SDCL 49-7-11, amendment approved by House State Affairs, 2023.02.06].

The effect of this language is the same as the effect of the original language: since the Iowa Republicans proposing this pipeline want to ship carbon dioxide to store underground in North Dakota to qualify for tax credits created by Democrats to fight climate change, HB 1133 as amended would mean they are not shipping a commodity, and thus could not by definition be a common carrier, and thus could not avail themselves of eminent domain.

The Schoenbeck wing of the Republican Party—the boring but powerful crony capitalists—is running interference for their Iowa friends and dodging the basic thrust of their position, which is that big business profits are more important than your property rights:

Committee member Republican Rep. Roger Chase said approval of HB1133 would likely kill the CO2 projects.

…Chase, who voted against HB1133, said “CO2 is a commodity that is produced in South Dakota.” CO2 is being transported in trucks in the state, he said.

…Committee member Republican Rep. Hugh Bartels said HB1133 changes the rules during the game.

“If this had an effective date out in the future, I might be more inclined to do this,” Bartels said.

Bartels said eminent domain can be a tool used to get people to negotiate with electric transmission and similar projects. Some of the landowners who testified on Monday have not even negotiated with the CO2 pipeline, Bartels said [Rae Yost, “CO2-Related Bill Headed to SD House,” KELO-TV, 2023.02.06].

The radical right-wing Republicans—the mugwumps who struggle to get anything done but occasionally say the right things—are acting like real Republicans and defending South Dakota landowners:

But several landowners who testified on Monday said their experiences have not been positive and because eminent domain is possible, it’s a threat.

Wendy Schultz, a landowner from near Watertown, cried as she said how the possibility of a CO2 pipeline on her property has stalled a dream to build a new home in the property.

“Our lives have been put on hold because of the uncertainty of (the CO2) project,” Schultz said. Her family is against eminent domain use by a private company on private land for private gain, she said.

…Protecting an American dream like Schultz’s is one reason committee member Republican Rep. Jon Hansen said he’d vote in favor of HB1133. Hansen described it as a “big corporation” who would “crush her American dream” [Yost, 2023.02.06].

The Schulz family submitted this written commentary to House State Affairs today. Republicans like Bartels and Chase voted against the interests of these and other South Dakota landowners. Republicans like Hansen voted to support those landowners and send Rep. Lems’s amended HB 1133 to the full House for debate.


  1. P. Aitch 2023-02-06 20:01

    As if anyone or anything could stop Lederman. He’s killed more good ideas than COVID has killed MAGA’s.

  2. Arlo Blundt 2023-02-06 20:21

    There are a few folks around who find innovative ways to make a financial killing in South Dakota, a state relatively barren for such lucrative enterprise. Lederman is one of them. As with many lucrative enterprises, his scheme takes advantage of the “little guy” to grease the wheels of his ambition. Its railroads against farmers all over again.

  3. Ed 2023-02-07 08:49

    Roger Chase should have recused hinself since he has signed and easement with and received a monetary payment from Summit. He was Summit’s mouthpiece along with Bartels, and Cammack. Those three took the side of Summit on every bill before the committee. About 150 landowners packed the committee room to support the bills being proposed. The opposition consisted of a few lobbyists from Summit, Navigator, Chamber of Commerce, rural electrics lobbyist, Northwestern Public Service lobbyist, and two ethanol CEOs. Yet, Chase, Bartels, Cammack, and a couple others middle fingered their own constituents and sided every time with the corporate lobbyists. This is one Democrat who applauds Jon Hansen, Karla Lems, and other of their Republican colleagues who support our landowner rights, and am disappointed that we aren’t getting more support from our Democratic legislators. Their support is only lukewarm at best, not helping to sponsor our bills.

  4. Chris 2023-02-08 21:51

    Just to clarify Ed’s comment, the rural electrics didn’t testify on the bill. It was the investor-owned utilities.

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