Lincoln County Commission asks carbon pipelines to avoid eminent domain via resolution
The resolution is simply an expression of the commission’s opinion, and holds no weight in actual eminent domain procedures.
CANTON — The Lincoln County Commission is asking two proposed carbon pipelines via resolution to avoid the use of eminent domain for land acquisitions and instead negotiate with land owners.
At the commission’s regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 14, a resolution was approved 4-0 to express the county’s support for property owners’ rights under law and said Summit Carbon Solutions and Navigator CO2’s Heartland Greenway project “should work to resolve negotiations over property and avoid the use of eminent domain.”
The resolution’s author, Commissioner James Jibben, of Lennox, said he’s been approached by a number of his constituents who are curious about whether the commission would take a position on the pipelines, and that private use of eminent domain is a concern.
“Eminent domain for private gain and private companies is a real concern. Without eminent domain as a government use, we wouldn't have railroads or airports or dams on the Missouri River,” Jibben said. “But at the same time, I don’t know if this is the right thing for the fastest growing county in South Dakota that we may have two pipelines of carbon criss-crossing our particular county.”
The resolution comes as House Bill 1133 makes its way through the South Dakota Legislature. Currently, South Dakota law allows companies with pipelines to utilize eminent domain, but HB 1133 would prohibit companies such as Summit Carbon Solutions and Navigator CO2 from exercising it.
The bill advanced Feb. 6 through the House State Affairs Committee on an 8-5 vote before passing through the House of Representatives by a 40-28 margin on Feb. 9. The bill still awaits a vote from the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee and the legislature’s upper chamber.
Chair of the Lincoln County Commission Tiffani Landeen, of Sioux Falls, said she isn’t sure the resolution needed any action from a county.
“I appreciate the discussion, I’m just not sure if this is something that requires board action. … I’m not sure what broad message we want to send,” Landeen said. “We don't have any authority over these pipelines at this point, so I don’t know that board action is necessary today.”
Commissioner Joel Arends, of Sioux Falls, countered.
“I don't think there's anything wrong with a county commission passing a resolution for or against anything,” he said. “It says the county commission supports property owners’ rights under South Dakota law, and I support that. It also calls for Summit and Navigator to resolve negotiations with property owners in order to avoid use of eminent domain, and I can support that, too.”
The resolution, which passed regardless of the recusal of Commissioner Michael Poppens, of Tea, is simply an expression of the commission’s opinion, and holds no weight in actual eminent domain procedures.
“What we’re trying to say is that we’re encouraging two pipeline companies not to use eminent domain,” said Commissioner Jim Schmidt, of Sioux Falls. “That’s all. It’s a rather passive [resolution].”
HB 1133 underwent its first reading in a Senate committee on Monday, Feb. 13, and has not yet been scheduled for a second reading or a vote.