South Dakota Legislature Approves Pipeline Bills Easing CCS Projects

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South Dakota Legislature Approves Pipeline Bills Easing CCS Projects

South Dakota State Capitol Building in Pierre, South Dakota (© Shutterstock/Joseph Sohm)
South Dakota State Capitol Building in Pierre, South Dakota (© Shutterstock/Joseph Sohm)

South Dakota lawmakers sent a package of three pipeline bills to Gov. Kristi Noem’s desk for consideration, including a measure with extensive landowner protections dubbed the “Landowner Bill of Rights.”

The bills, passed after significant debate and amendment, aim to establish a regulatory framework for carbon capture pipelines while addressing landowner concerns raised by Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed project.

Senate Bill 201, a central piece of the package, allows counties to impose a $1 per linear foot annual surcharge on pipelines. 

Half the revenue would go toward property tax relief, with the remainder at the county’s discretion. The bill also grants permitted pipelines the authority to supersede local zoning and building ordinances, with exceptions.

Additionally, SB 201 includes the “Landowner Bill of Rights,” which requires pipeline developers to bury pipelines deep underground, repair drainage damage, and compensate landowners for harm caused by leaks or construction.

Both the House and Senate passed SB 201, with some variations, before a conference committee ironed out differences. The final version passed the House 39-31 and the Senate 24-10.

Another bill, House Bill 1185, mandates increased transparency from pipeline developers during the land surveying and examination process. 

Landowners would receive $500 before surveys begin and have the right to challenge them. HB 1185 passed the House 42-28 and the Senate 29-5.

The third bill, House Bill 1186, establishes a 50-year maximum duration for carbon pipeline easements and eliminates a previous provision for annual payments to landowners. HB 1186 passed the House 41-29 and the Senate 24-10.

Governor Noem expressed support for the package in a statement, highlighting the “Landowner Bill of Rights” protections.

“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 economic growth to move forward through a transparent process.”

Industry groups, including the SD Ethanol Producers Association, praised the legislation as beneficial for landowners, businesses, and farmers.

However, Chase Jensen, a lobbyist for Dakota Rural Action, expressed concerns that the bills prioritized corporate interests over landowner rights, particularly regarding eminent domain.

“The so-called ‘landowner bill of rights’ does nothing to stop private for-profit companies from exercising the right of eminent domain to force private landowners into easements against their will,” Jensen said.

The passage of these bills marks a significant development in South Dakota’s pipeline policy, balancing economic opportunities with landowner protections. However, questions regarding eminent domain remain a point of contention.

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