South Dakota Property Rights and Local Control Alliance Mobilizes Against SB 201

by | Mar 14, 2024 | Press Release


South Dakota Property Rights and Local Control Alliance Mobilizes Against SB 201

Pierre, South Dakota (March 14, 2024) — Today, the South Dakota Property Rights and Local Control Alliance (SDPRLCA) announced its formation and its commitment to initiate a referendum on Senate Bill 201 (SB 201). This controversial bill removes local autonomy from counties, municipalities, and townships, paving the way for a single private entity to profit at the expense of South Dakota taxpayers and property owners.

SDPRLCA is an alliance of local citizens, property owners, and leaders at the county, township, and state levels. This grassroots organization is established to block the enactment of SB 201. The primary goals are to heighten public understanding of how SB 201 threatens everyone’s constitutional rights, expose the potential dangers it poses to public safety, and give South Dakotans a chance to decide if legislation that takes away our freedom and authority for local control should stand in our state. We will advocate to block the enactment of SB 201 and secure a “No” vote in the November 5th election.

“What works for Hand County probably won’t work for Lincoln County,” said Jim Eschenbaum, Hand County Commissioner, Chair of SDPRLCA, and local control advocate. “Many of our counties have worked for years to put together comprehensive plans and work alongside municipalities and townships to ensure their residents’ safety, prosperity, and well-being. And, although Hand County didn’t change a single word of our Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance, and my farm is 30 miles away from this pipeline, so I’m not directly impacted, I still advocate for personal property rights and local authority. I believe that our legislators got too authoritarian with SB 201.”

Key objections were raised by Rep. Julie K. Auch, Rep. Tina L. Mulally, Rep. Aaron Aylward, Rep. Scott Odenbach, Rep. Fred Deutsch, Rep. Marty Overweg, Rep. Randy Gross, Rep. Carl E. Perry, Rep. Kevin D. Jensen, Rep. Sue Peterson, Rep. Phil Jensen, Rep. Tony Randolph, Rep. Ben Krohmer, Rep. Brandei Schaefbauer, Rep. Karla J. Lems, Rep. John Sjaarda, Rep. Liz May, Rep. Bethany Soye, Rep. John Mills, Rep. Kenneth Teunissen and Rep. Scott Moore when they filed a dissent and protest of the passage of SB 201 on March 6, 2024.

Sen. Red Dawn Foster, Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller, Sen. Al Novstrup, and Sen. Tom Pischke likewise, on March 7, 2024, filed a dissent and protest of the passage of SB 201. SDPRLCA shares their concerns and more:

Violation of the South Dakota Constitution: SB 201 violates the constitutional mandate prohibiting the Legislature from enacting private or special laws that regulate county and township affairs. The bill’s preemption of local land use, zoning, and building regulations undermines South Dakota’s 135-year-old tradition of established local control.

Furthermore, the South Dakota Constitution mandates, “No law shall cover more than one subject, which must be clearly stated in its title.” The title of SB 201 encompasses three distinct and separate subjects, while the bill’s content incorporates several additional topics not reflected in its title.

Erosion of Local Control: The bill changes current law by mandating that transmission facility regulations be subject to Public Utilities Commission (PUC) orders, stripping local communities of their decision-making powers.

Misleading “Landowner Bill of Rights”: SB 201’s so-called protections fail to address eminent domain abuse—the critical issue—by facilitating easier land acquisition and use by private pipeline companies at the expense of South Dakotans’ inherent property rights.

Restrictions on Fees: The bill limits the ability of local government to impose fees, including those crucial for emergency response, effectively shifting the financial burden of potential pipeline incidents onto taxpayers.

Inadequate Protection for Citizens: SB 201, as passed, contains insufficient safeguards for citizens and property owners who would live in close proximity to the proposed pipeline. It totally fails to address the severe risk of possible catastrophic pipeline failures, which could endanger the lives and property of thousands of citizens.

Vague Terminology and PUC Handcuffing: Ambiguous language within the bill restricts the PUC’s discretionary powers, compromises the commission’s ability to make informed decisions for the citizens’ welfare, and invites potential litigation.

Lack of Transparency: SB 201 obscures the significant risks posed by inexperienced companies, such as Summit Carbon Solutions, with limited experience in the CO2 pipeline industry. SB 201 fails to make “plume studies” publicly available. The lack of transparency in providing this information to local and county officials and emergency responders should raise serious concerns over public safety and, by Summit Carbon Solution’s own admission, national security.

With the passage of SB 201, South Dakota became a state where profits trump property rights. The SDPRLCA stands firm in its conviction that South Dakotans deserve the right to decide on legislation that directly impacts their freedom, local control, and safety. The Alliance calls upon all South Dakotans and concerned organizations to join its efforts to challenge SB 201 and protect the state’s constitutional and local governance integrity.

The South Dakota Property Rights and Local Control Alliance is a grassroots coalition dedicated to defending South Dakota’s constitutional rights and local governance from legislative overreach. Comprised of engaged citizens, property owners, and local leaders, SDPRLCA advocates for transparency, safety, and local autonomy across the state.

For more information, please contact:
Rick [email protected]
Citizen Volunteer
South Dakota Property Rights and Local Control Alliance
[email protected]