I am heartened to see a bipartisan team of legislators backing eminent domain reform in Pierre. House Bill 1177 would tighten the rules for private corporations trying to take South Dakotans' land for their use. The rules include requiring that a corporation have all necessary state and federal permits before starting any condemnation effort.
Alas, HB 1177 may be too late to thirteen West River landowners along the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route. TransCanada has filed eminent domain lawsuits to force some of our neighbors to give up their land rights and see their property torn up for the second tar sands pipeline across our state. This move comes before TransCanada has even received permission from the State Department to build this project, a pipeline that bodes higher oil prices for South Dakota.
Hey, Rep. Verchio: any chance you fellas could make HB 1177 retroactive?