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HB 1087: Betty Olson Seeks Thirty-Year Limit on Conservation Easements

Rep. Betty Olson (R-28B/Prairie City) hates conservation easements. Last year she co-sponsored two failed bills that sought to create all sorts of red tape for property owners who want to establish conservation easements on their land. Now Rep. Olson is trying again to interfere with property rights: her HB 1087 would limit conservation easements to thirty years.

Thirty years. That's funny: I haven't heard Rep. Olson or her Republican colleagues express any opposition to the 99-year right-of-way easements that foreign oil company TransCanada was able to force on South Dakota landowners through the courts.

Remember, this is the same Betty Olson who thinks the state shouldn't keep any land off the market for parks or other public uses. She doesn't want the public protecting nature; she doesn't even want individuals exercising their property rights to protect nature.

Apparently Rep. Betty Olson believes property rights only extend to people who share her values.


  1. Steve Sibson 2012.01.23

    "Olson is trying again to interfere with property rights"

    No Cory, she is protecting property rights of future generations. We will not live forever, and why should we prosper now by giving away property rights to future owners? Of course many have no problem spending the wealth of future generations with the federal debt.

  2. Donald Pay 2012.01.23

    Property rights are always circumscribed, but I'm not sure what purpose Olson has for this. It's a Koch Brothers (ALEC) bill, so I imagine she's trying to create a means that allows the petroleum industry a way to steal property rights from SD landowners on the cheap. If landowners have a competing easement with which to bargain, the billionaire Koch Brothers would have to pay a bit more to secure their easements.

  3. Jana 2012.01.23

    I'm sure that Betty will explain her contradictory positions when she testifies on behalf of her bill.

    Heck, I bet there is even a legislator or two who is smart enough to ask the question.

    Or not...

  4. Steve Sibson 2012.01.23

    "It’s a Koch Brothers (ALEC) bill, so I imagine she’s trying to create a means that allows the petroleum industry a way to steal property rights from SD landowners on the cheap."

    It is TransCanada who has perpetual easements, so you guys are completely off base as to who the boogey man is.

  5. larry kurtz 2012.01.23

    Don nailed it.

    The legislation would constrain existing or future wildlife corridors from linking with historic biomes and undermine USFWS enforcement of critical habitat.

  6. Steve Sibson 2012.01.23

    Larry, now I am tempted to use the "T" word. You just proved that Betty is the one protecting "private" property rights.

  7. larry kurtz 2012.01.23

    Paraphrasing the words of someone whose lands that existed long before the new age were subsumed inside a collapsed red state: what's one more occupier, right, Steve?

  8. Donald Pay 2012.01.23

    If you read through Tom's Memo, you will see that if the state limits the easement to thirty years, the landowner can get around this by negotiating a deal with a federal agency. So, the perverse aspect of this bill is it drives a landowner who wants to have a permanent conservation easement into obtaining it from the federal governmentm rather than from a South Dakota agency or non-profit. I'm not sure that's necessarily the outcome that should be encouraged.

  9. chris from Pierre 2012.01.23

    Betty is not protecting anyones rights other then her own narrow mind-set.
    Is it not my fundamenatl right as a property owner to do as I see fit?
    Betty may i sell my land? Betty may I sell my land with a Conservation easement?
    Betty???? I am a privte landowner...can I do with my land as I wan too/????

  10. Troy Jones 2012.01.24

    Don's point is a good one as it has the unintended perverse consequence of giving control of the release or amending of the easement to the federal government vs the state government.

    And, I am having a hard time grasping Steve's comment this is "pro-private property rights." If I own my property, I should be able to do with it as I want. Period. Frankly, rather than fighting this Steve should be fighting real limits to private property rights (Kelo, power of neighbors to impact what a landowner does).

    Sidenote: Those who keep crying ALEC are no different than one who cries everything is "Masonic." :)

  11. larry kurtz 2012.01.24

    Troy: conspiracies are either legal or not; ALEC is very real.

  12. Troy Jones 2012.01.24

    Larry, c'mon. You are smarter than that.

    ALEC is no different than any liberal group which drafts and promotes "model" legislation. Yes, they are real but it doesn't make them a conspiracy.

    A conspiracy is "a secret plan or agreement between two or more people to commit an illegal or subversive act." This group is promoting its model legislation very much in the open, promoting changes in law is not illegal but very much legal, and last time I looked protected by the Constitution.

    Criticize the merits of the bill. I criticize conservatives when they cry "Soros" or some other liberal group. Intellectual vigor should be focused on the merits of the proposal. Nobody has the omniscience to truly discern motives. And, to attack motives is an inference those they disagree have bad motives. Anything less is just another form of adhominem attack.

    Every now and then I go off and sarcastically respond with "liberals hate the poor." I don't believe that but am making a point in response to when someone says that about conservatives. Anyone to assert such a motive must be able to peer into one's heart.

  13. larry kurtz 2012.01.24

    Loyal Democrats don't make apologies and excuses for their own platform or methods; and, I am not interested in salvaging stupidity for your party, Troy.

  14. Steve Sibson 2012.01.24

    "I own my property, I should be able to do with it as I want."

    Troy, Larry proved my point. Selling land to the government violates "private" property rights.

  15. Disraeli 2012.01.25

    "Loyal Democrats don’t make apologies and excuses for their own platform or methods;"

    Who was Pres. Obama apologizing for? Is he considered as a loyal Democrat?

  16. Disraeli 2012.01.25

    The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states: “Nor shall Private Property be taken for Public Use, without Just Compensation.” Not sure the context of the conversation. But, selling private property to government has been done so many times. It does not violate any law. In fact the government can even force you to sell your property against your will by "just cause" for the public interest like highways and railroads.

  17. larry kurtz 2012.01.25

    (i used your dog in the manger quote).

  18. Disraeli 2012.01.25

    Why is the government telling me what to do on my private property?
    The role of a local government is to protect its residents and create and enforce laws that are in the best interest of all residents, balancing property interests and the common good. So "no" you can't just do anything with your private property just because it is yours. The laws do differ from each state and county, but the general rule is; it must be in the best interest of the public to do harm.

  19. Disraeli 2012.01.25

    oops "no harm"

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.01.25

    [Hey, Disraeli: check your e-mail... and confirm ID!]

  21. larry kurtz 2012.01.26

    "CODY, Wyo. — One of the oldest ranches in Wyoming held by a single family has agreed to a conservation easement that will protect more than 10,000 acres of prime wildlife habitat.

    Budd Ranches Inc., owned by brothers Chad and Brian Espenscheid and located near Big Piney in Sublette County, joined the Conservation Fund in creating the easement to protect the historic property."

    Read more:

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