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Letter: Do landowners have rights?
Can landowners sell their property to the highest bidder, or should there be restrictions? Does it make a difference if the buyer is from Canada or China or a billionaire from the U.S., like Bill Gates?
Can a group of hog farmers form a coop and purchase land to build a processing plant? If the farmers worked with the city and the state to find a parcel of land near the poop ponds in the industrial section of town, should they have the right to use their land for its intended purpose? Can a local billionaire who doesn't own the land or even an adjacent parcel force them to walk away from the millions they have invested in the land purchase and site work? What about the City Council or a group of voters? Do they have more rights to that land and its use than the landowner?
Can a group of millionaires, billionaires and foreign interests force landowners to give up their rights to their land and ram a dangerous CO2 pipeline through someone else’s property?
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If we decide that someone (or a group of people) can stop a landowner from building on their own land, then wouldn’t it seem fair that a landowner could also stop someone else from using their land for profit, especially at the expense of safety?
What is the proper process to stop the pipeline or stop a new business venture? What does that timeline look like? Can it be stopped after it’s already started? Do the local citizens have a say? How about the farmers and landowners affected? Do they have rights? Is there a branch of government that can pick and choose? Is the process transparent or fair? Is South Dakota a champion for freedom when it comes to landowners? Does South Dakota work as its motto suggests, with people ruling? If so, which people?