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SD Property Rights Group Wants To Refer Law To A Vote

PIERRE, S.D. – A South Dakota property rights group held a rally at the state capitol on Tuesday, March 26, which was adjournment day for the 99th South Dakota Legislature.

The rally was the beginning of a signature gathering campaign by the South Dakota Property Rights and Local Control Alliance to initiate a state-wide referendum on SB 201, a controversial measure passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Krisit Noem.

The bill, one of several related bills introduced in this legislative session, is the result of efforts to balance the interests of both opponents and proponents of building carbon dioxide pipelines in the state.

A multi-billion-dollar pipeline proposed by Summit Carbon Solutions, which is headquartered in Iowa would collect carbon dioxide from ethanol plants in South Dakota and some neighboring states and pipe it to North Dakota for underground storage. The project would take advantage of billions in available federal tax credits that incentivize the removal of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

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Current law says the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) “may” overrule counties’ setbacks. The legislation says the commission “must” overrule setbacks if they “are unreasonably restrictive in the view of existing technology, factors of cost, or economics, or needs of parties,” or if the county actions are preempted by federal law.

Opponents of the bill — including state representative Tina Mulally — say they’re not against pipelines, but rather, they support local control.

“Most of us believe the Legislature got it wrong, and this is the people’s way of being able to say, ‘You got it wrong. We don’t like this.’ Under God, the people rule, and we’re going to voice our opinion and say no to SB 201,” said Rep Tina Mulally (R-Rapid City).

Organizers need to collect more than 17,000 signatures to get the referendum on the ballot.

The deadline to submit those signatures is June 25.

No companies currently have permits pending with the PUC, but Summit Carbon Solutions has expressed interest in reapplying.

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