Former Brown County Commissioner response to Representative Mortenson Op-ed

ABERDEEN, S.D.(SDNA)- In response to South Dakota House of Representatives Majority Leader Will Mortenson’s letter to most South Dakota newspapers/media (April 18, 2024 Aberdeen Insider), I would suggest he not discourage South Dakota voters from signing a petition that would repeal SB 201, which he labels as the South Dakota Bill of Rights. It is, in fact, the Summit Carbon Solutions Bill of Rights.
I can believe he is confused by the very concerned citizens who want to repeal SB 201 because it is presented as generating increased tax revenue for counties. Besides stripping counties of local control, accepting this “Bill of Rights” will in fact cost counties in additional funding for EMS, rural fire departments for additional equipment, and with less property tax generated for county government and schools due to a decrease in land values of the hazardous pipe land.
This pipeline is a major boondoggle and will only serve to rip off the taxpayer to line the pockets of a few already rich individuals. It will not guarantee $7 corn and it will not save the South Dakota corn farmer. I believe it will lead to an even more vertically integrated ethanol industry with the pipeline companies and the ethanol plants snuffing out the small corn producer, leading to even more incorporated farms which will never (and have never) help economic growth.
Obviously Mortenson agrees with South Dakota’s severely lacking eminent domain laws because he did not introduce legislation to prevent eminent domain for private gain this year. He says “There is no consensus for making that change.” How hard did you try to effect a change? You’ve got to go after it, Mr. Mortenson!
Mortenson labeled the people wanting to repeal SB 201 “political activists”. These people opposing SB 201 are landowners who just want to live on their land, raising their crops, livestock—and families. But since the majority of legislators and the governor did nothing to help protect that way of life from a greedy private company with seemingly unlimited money to throw around, these concerned landowners have had to step up to protect what is theirs. And they’ve had to do it on their own time and own dime.
As a state representative of the people of South Dakota, Mortenson should not discourage any voter from any petition drive. It is the people of South Dakota’s right and privilege to petition any law. Remember South Dakota’s state motto? “Under God the people rule.”
I would ask the people to please educate themselves and sign the petition to repeal SB 201. Put a stop to this tax rip-off boondoggle and the Summit Carbon Solutions Bill of Rights. Protect your freedom.
Dennis Feickert
Former Brown County Commissioner
Former SD House of Representatives member