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September 19, 2008

S.D. judge ruling = delay for DM&E

Here's an interesting tidbit from South Dakota:

Former South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Miller is questioning the legality of a 2008 state law aimed at speeding up the eminent domain process.

At a hearing this week, Miller agreed with landowners who want more time to prepare for a hearing on the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad's application to condemn land for its proposed $6 billion coal train and rail renovation project.

Miller is the hearing officer in the DM&E application. His ruling delays a Sept. 22 state Transportation Commission hearing on the matter.

The railroad applied to use eminent domain for its project. The 2008 Legislature passed a law saying the process must be completed within 90 days from application.

Miller says he doesn't intend to "fully or blindly comply with or enforce the 90-day limitation" because he considers it unconstitutional.

DM&E President Kevin Schieffer says the decision is disappointing and is another delay.

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In other DM&E news yesterday, Fri, the USATODAY newspaper had a major DM&E client, VeraSun, have it's paper reduced to a step above junk bond status. Verasun ships unit ethanol trains to Chicago. Wonder if they're making their payments to DM&E.

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