A mostly anonymous group of right-wingers calling itself Landowners for Eminent Domain Reform has been promoting events protesting the use of eminent domain for carbon dioxide pipelines like the May 15 rally in Leola where Senator Al Novstrup said digital currency is more dangerous than temperature changes and the June 10 session in Aberdeen where Virginia lobbyist Tom DeWeese made multiple false statements about climate change. LEDR posts a poster for their events showing they have the support of the John Birch Society:
I can’t let Novstrup’s and DeWeese’s and LEDR’s Birchy nutbirdiness (or LEDR’s gross misuse of a superscript 2 instead of a subscript 2 in the chemical symbol for carbon dioxide—these people can’t even get the little details of science right!) stop me from recognizing that they and South Dakota’s hard right are harder and more visibly than any left-wing groups to protect South Dakota property rights from the predations of the mainstream Republicans behind the Summit Carbon Solutions land grab.
Toward the end of cross-partisan comity and our shared interest in property rights, I note with favor LEDR’s upcoming rally at the Capitol in Pierre, the “Property Rights Round-Up“. Several legislators are hoping to draw a crowd to the Capitol steps on Thursday, July 6, at noon to join their call for a Special Session to address eminent domain. Governor Kristi Noem has said she supports landowners but can’t do anything to help them against the land-grabbing pipeliners who sponsored her inauguration, but she could in an instant convene the Special Session to reform eminent domain that Republican Representatives Jon Hansen, Karla Lems, and Brandi Schaefbauer are supporting.
The left isn’t all quiet on the eminent domain front—also supporting a Special Session is Democratic House Minority Leader Oren Lesmeister:
Democratic Rep. Oren Lesmeister, who represents northwestern South Dakota in the House, also believes a special session is needed.
“We’ve got people that have been there for centuries, I mean literally, and this is their livelihood, and they take personal pride in their property, personal property rights,” Lesmeister said. “And they’re being trampled on right now … and it is by law. That is one thing; they do have the right to survey. We’re not saying they don’t” [Dan Santella, “Hansen Calls for Special Session as CO2 Pipeline Surveying Continues,” KELO-TV, updated 2023.06.29].
Governor Noem tweeted yesterday that she’s leaving it up to legislators themselves to muster the two-thirds majorities from House and Senate to call themselves into Special Session:
Once again, Governor Noem says she’s “with the landowners and always have been“, but she’s not going to lift her pen to put her professed support into practical action. As she told landowner Jared Bossly, she’s not going to fight this battle for them.
Maybe the Governor needs to see a lot of Birchers and wingnuts and farmers and Democrats and other people outside her office window on the Capitol steps at noon on July 6. Join the rally, call for the Special Session, and get Governor Noem and the Legislature to stand up for South Dakota property rights.