Gov. Rounds Signs Wind Easement Compromise Bill

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Governor Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota) has signed House Bill 1263 into law, the bill that revises certain provisions related to the terms of wind easements and wind energy leases.

"This law is a compromise between wind developers, rural electric cooperatives, and landowners when it comes to wind easement contracts for wind energy development,"said South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) President Doug Sombke.

This law will allow any project greater than 500 Megawatts a 12 year easement contract period. That means a wind developer can sign a contract with a landowner to develop a wind project on their land, but that contract is only good for 12 years if the wind company doesn't develop wind turbines in that time frame. Originally, some legislators wanted to establish a 50 year period for contracts, which would tie up land for a half century without any development, but a compromise was reached by legislators.

"This is a victory for landowners across the state of South Dakota," Sombke said. "It ensures that their rights are protected through this process. Wind energy presents a huge economic opportunity for our state's farmers, ranchers and landowners, and this contract compromise will help protect them from companies tying up their land for an extended period of time."

This bill also allows a 10 day period for the contract to be signed, and removes the confidentiality agreement which assures landowners the best deal for tying up their land for 12 years.

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