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South Dakota lawmakers pass trio of bills aimed at carbon dioxide pipelines

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(The Center Square) – South Dakota lawmakers agreed to a trio of bills dubbed a “Landowner Bill of Rights” that sponsors said would protect landowners from pipeline companies that wanted to build in the state.

Senate Bill 201 would allow the South Dakota Public Service to supersede county and municipal zoning laws deemed “unreasonably restrictive.” Counties could collect a $1 surcharge per linear foot of carbon dioxide pipeline in their county.

The bill passed the House and Senate last week but was sent to a conference committee to hammer out the differences. Both chambers approved the bills after debates on Wednesday.

Rep. Julie Frye-Mueller, R-Rapid City, said the bill is a problem for South Dakota citizens and landowners.

“These people don’t want money,” Frye Mueller said. “They want to be left alone. They want their property rights that are enshrined in our constitution and all that you guys are doing is trying to change that for money, for big business.”

Both chambers also passed House Bill 1185, which requires companies to give landowners 30 days’ notice before surveying the property and one-time payments of $500. House Bill 1186, which was also approved by both bodies, would return easements to the landowner if the pipeline company did not get a permit within five years.

The South Dakota PUC rejected an application from Summit Carbon Solutions last September that would have allowed a portion of a carbon dioxide pipeline to traverse through South Dakota on its way to North Dakota, where the carbon would be stored underground. Commissioners said at the time that state statutes prevent the PUC from issuing a permit for a route that violates a county ordinance.

SCS officials said they were thankful for the bills.

“We appreciate the attention and engagement from so many South Dakotans, especially our partners and agricultural leaders. We look forward to doing our part to create and maintain successful relationships going forward,” said Lee Blank, CEO of SCS, in a statement provided to The Center Square. “As South Dakota Ethanol Producers said, this legislation is unequivocally pro-landowner, pro-business, pro-farmer, and pro-ethanol. We are excited to have a path forward that establishes best practices we are committed to following in South Dakota and across our entire project.”

Gov. Kristi Noem said before the bills passed that she approved of them.

“I stand with South Dakota landowners and always will,” Noem said. “I am looking forward to signing a Landowner Bill of Rights that will provide new protections for landowners and allow for economic growth to move forward through a transparent process.”

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