SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) – Three statewide organizations are banding together for a campaign, looking to change South Dakota’s eminent domain laws.
Dakota Rural Action, Landowners for Eminent Domain Reform, and the South Dakota Farmers Union are the founding organizations of South Dakotans First. The campaign is looking to the 2024 legislative session in Pierre, as they look for lawmakers to address those laws in response to proposed carbon dioxide pipeline projects.
Although both Summit Carbon Solutions and Navigator were denied their permit requests earlier this year, both have indicated that they will try again. South Dakota Farmers Union Doug Sombke said those eminent domain laws need to change sooner rather than later, and this new campaign will be a unifying voice for many.
“The cheap slogan that I use is eminent domain for private gain is no way to go. We want it for public use only,” Sombke said.
“This last Tuesday, [Summit Carbon Solutions] they came to Brown County and to Spink County, and offered them a $50,000 grant to their rescue crews. Bribe money, in my opinion,” Sombke said. “When are they going to get it, that farmers and ranchers, and these communities that they’re affecting, don’t give a damn about the money? That’s not the point, is it? The point is that we want them to listen to us and respect us. That’s it.”
The three organizations said that funding for the campaign is coming from their organizations alone, all made up of South Dakota residents. Coming together as a unified voice helps them all, as it would be much harder for legislators to ignore when voicing their concerns.
While changing eminent domain laws is the current goal of the campaign, Sombke also said it’s not the only issue they could address. He said after the announcement that a new state penitentiary would be placed in rural Lincoln County, he said they could work together with landowners there to see if their concerns are being addressed in the future.