What's Matt McGovern doing after losing his bid to replace Kristie Fiegen on the Public Utilities Commission? Oh, the usual: trying to prevent big government from redistributing the wealth of South Dakota landowners to foreign moochers.
Wait a minute: isn't protecting property rights supposed to be the Republican Party's purview? You'd think, but as usual, when it comes to TransCanada and the Keystone XL pipeline, South Dakota conservatives are dead silent when it comes to protecting South Dakota landowners.
McGovern is representing Colome rancher John Harter in court. TransCanada plans to plow the Keystone XL pipeline into his pasture. They offered him a dollar a day for the privilege of hosting their risk. Harter said no. TransCanada took him to court to force him to give up his land. The South Dakota court sided with TransCanada, saying as another court did in 2008, that a private pipeline owned by a private foreign corporation hauling only that corporation's private clients' product qualifies as a "common carrier" and thus can seize land from South Dakotans under eminent domain.
Conservatives hate eminent domain. They ought to be going ape over this abuse of South Dakota property rights. They ought to be hanging these judges in effigy and starting recall petitions (can we do that to judges?). But because its Big Oil, the right-wing commentariat gives us crickets.
And John Harter waits for a Tripp County jury to decide how much TransCanada must pay him for scarring his land and putting his cattle, livelihood, and resale value and permanent risk. We can only hope that Harter's peers will recognize the great value of his land and the great sacrifice he is being forced to make by a greedy, arrogant corporation.
Harter speaks about his land (his land, dang it!) in this video from the Natural Resources Defense Council:
Blaise Emerson, Black Hills economic development honcho, tells that Sioux Falls paper he doesn't see any reason Keystone XL shouldn't go forward. Emerson and the state of South Dakota don't see John Harter. Matt McGovern does. We all should.