State of South Dakota  
EIGHTY-EIGHTH SESSION
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY, 2013  

295U0069   HOUSE BILL   NO.  1003  

Introduced by:    Representatives Rozum, Hawley, Hoffman, Magstadt, Olson (Betty), Schrempp, and Solum and Senators Rampelberg, Maher, Sutton, and Tieszen at the request of the Interim Oil and Gas Study Committee
 

        FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to provide for mediation between mineral developers and surface owners in certain disputes over surface depredation and to provide for mediation of mineral fee disputes.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
    Section 1. That chapter 45-5A be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:
    The Department of Agriculture shall administer a surface depredation mediation program to provide assistance to mineral developers and surface owners who seek to use mediation as a method for resolving disputes over the determination of damages pursuant to § 45-5A-4. The program may also be used to mediate disputes between mineral fee holders and surface owners.
    The secretary of the Department of Agriculture shall promulgate rules pursuant to chapter 1-26 necessary for mediation, including the establishment of fees, training requirements for mediators, mediation request forms, and any other mediation procedures as may be necessary for the prompt and expeditious mediation of surface depredation disputes.
    Section 2. That chapter 45-5A be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:
    All staff services required by the surface depredation mediation program shall be provided by the Department of Agriculture. The secretary of agriculture may employ a director of surface depredation mediation services and such other agents and employees as the secretary deems necessary. The director shall serve at the pleasure of the secretary of agriculture. The mediation services shall be administered under the direction and supervision of the Department of Agriculture. All expenses incurred in carrying on the work of the surface depredation mediation program, including the per diem and expenses of the staff, salaries, contract payments, and any other items of expense shall be paid out of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the surface depredation mediation operating fund.
    Section 3. That chapter 45-5A be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:
    Any fees provided under this Act or by rule shall be borne equally between the mineral developer and the surface owner. Such fees shall be deposited in the surface depredation mediation operating fund which is hereby created. All money in the surface depredation mediation operating fund created by this section is continuously appropriated for the purposes of administering the surface depredation mediation program. All funds received by the surface depredation mediation program shall be set forth in an informational budget as described in § 4-7-7.2 and be annually reviewed by the Legislature. Any disbursements from the surface depredation mediation operating fund shall be by authorization of the secretary of agriculture.
    Section 4. That chapter 45-5A be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:
    The Department of Agriculture, in the administration of this Act, may contract with one or

more established agencies of state government, nonprofit corporations, or individuals to provide mediation services for mineral developers and surface owners.
    Section 5. That chapter 45-5A be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:

    The director of the surface depredation mediation program shall promptly, upon the request of either party for mediation services, send a mediation meeting notice to the mineral developers and surface owners, setting a time and place for an initial mediation meeting between the mineral developers and surface owners, and a mediator. An initial mediation meeting shall be held within twenty-one days of the issuance of the mediation meeting notice.
    Section 6. That chapter 45-5A be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:
    The total mediation period shall be for a term of forty-two days after the date the director of the surface depredation mediation program issues the notice to the parties. The director of the surface depredation mediation program shall issue a notice to both parties within three business days following receipt of the request for mediation. The mediator may, after the initial meeting, schedule additional mediation meetings during the mediation period.
    Section 7. That chapter 45-5A be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:
    If the mineral developer and the surface owner consent, mediation may continue beyond the forty-two day mediation period with the same force and effect as though held within the forty-two day period.
    Any agreement reached between the mineral developer and the surface owner as a result of mediation shall be drafted into a written agreement. If signed by the mineral developer and the surface owner, the agreement constitutes a binding contract, and the mediator shall so certify.
    Section 8. That chapter 45-5A be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:
    All information regarding the dispute between the mineral developers and the surface owners which is created, collected, or maintained by the director of the surface depredation mediation program pursuant to the terms of this Act or disclosed to the mediator are not public records and are confidential and discussions with the mediators are privileged communications.
    All mediation meetings, and all mediation activities provided by this Act, are exempt from the provisions of chapter 1-27.
    Section 9. That chapter 45-5A be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:
    Any person serving as a mediator pursuant to this Act is immune from civil liability in any action brought in any court in this state on the basis of any act or omission resulting in damage or injury if the individual was acting in good faith, in a reasonable and prudent manner, and within the scope of such individual's official functions and duties as a mediator.