South Dakota legislation aims to help landowners negotiate fair easements in development projects

South Dakota lawmakers are focusing on value-added agriculture in new legislation initiatives for the state. The State House Majority Leader Representative says these bills would be the strongest landowner protections passed in two decades.

South Dakota lawmakers are focusing on value-added agriculture in new legislation initiatives for the state. Republicans in South Dakota’s State House and Senate have drafted three bills with the hopes of finding a compromise between landowners and the development of projects, like carbon or ethanol pipelines.

S.D. State Majority Leader, Rep. Will Mortensen, is one of the prime sponsors of the legislation. He shares how these bills would be the strongest landowner protections passed in two decades:

“They make sure that our farmers and ranchers are fairly compensated when these projects come across their land and that there are minimum easement terms so that our farmers and ranchers have good footing, especially with the specter of eminent domain behind them, that there is a more level playing field for our farmers and ranchers to negotiate fair easements on their land.”
State Rep. Will Mortenson (R) South Dakota

One of the bills also includes a one-time payment of an access fee.

“I also happen to think that if someone’s coming on your land that you don’t like, or you don’t want to be there, that they should have to pay a little bit for that and so that bill also includes a $500 one time fee for the access that projects have on to the farms and ranches across South Dakota. These are substantial pro land owner measures. They make our process fair without cutting off our nose to spite our face. That is, these measures are intended to make our process better and fairer without blocking projects.”
State Rep. Will Mortenson (R) South Dakota

Another sponsor of the legislation, South Dakota Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Casey Crabtree says the central goals of these three bills are respect for landowners, certainty for value-added agriculture into the future, and infrastructure.

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