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Hendricks Won’t Take Daugaard’s Crap, Appeals Brookings CAFO Approval

Governor Dennis Daugaard's push for more mega-dairies has drawn legal action against Brookings County from Hendricks, Minnesota. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the Hendricks City Council has "filed a lawsuit" against Brookings County to stop the 3,999-head concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) that Michael Crinion wants to build near Oak Lake. Brookings County approved the conditional-use permit for the dairy, over the protest of Hendricks residents who are concerned that manure from the CAFO will drain into Lake Hendricks and degrade water quality.

The lawsuit appears to be an appeal of the zoning decision filed jointly by the Hendricks City Council and the Lake Hendricks Improvement Association on November 3.

Hendricks residents are bent out of shape over this dairy because they may see millions they've invested in clean water go to waste:

The fight for cleaner water in Lake Hendricks started with area farmers converting to lake-friendly land uses on thousands of acres around the lake. They planted 22 miles of buffer strips and other vegetation designed to stop runoff of sediment and nutrients. Together with sewage and stormwater improvements by lake cabin owners and by the surrounding wastewater districts, the cleanup has cost more than $5 million, [Hendricks mayor Jay] Nelson said.

In one recent project, 22 property owners on the South Dakota side of Lake Hendricks and 44 homeowners on the Minnesota side each invested an average of $12,000 in septic improvements, including hookups to the Hendricks city sewer district. Another $1.5 million has been spent on environmental testing and research, the mayor said.

“Our town’s major concern is that we’ve spent millions to clean up our lake, and it’s an unfinished job,” Nelson said. “Any runoff from this dairy would end up in Lake Hendricks” [Tony Kennedy, "The Border War over Cleaned-up Lake Hendricks," Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 2014.12.01].

Governor Daugaard's policy man Nathan Sanderson tells the Star-Trib the Oak Lake dairy is just one component of the state's push to double its dairy herd and provide more milk for the new state-subsidized Bel Brands cheese factory in nearby Brookings. He sneers at the Hendricks protesters, "We have an approach in South Dakota where we are open for business.... We’re not attempting to hinder business in any way."

But Hendricks residents see South Dakota hindering their business, which they say relies on clean water:

The location of this dairy, in our opinion, poses a great risk to Lake Hendricks and the surrounding area. The proposed location is within the Deer Creek Watershed District, which is the main supply of new water to Lake Hendricks. The waste management plan for the dairy calls for the continued application of their waste product to surrounding fields—all of which will create additional runoff issues when draining into Lake Hendricks. If this happens, we could see a reduction of water quality in the lake, which in turn will impact tourism, fishing, camping and other recreational and economic benefits that are enjoyed in the area [Lake Hendricks Improvement Association, letter to residents, quoted in Tammy Mathison, "Lake Hendricks Improvement Assoc. Letter Explains Reasons for Appeal," Hendricks Pioneer, 2014.11.28].

South Dakota's push for economic development now butts up against Minnesota's in a battle of milk and poop versus water.


  1. jerry 2014.12.02

    That is one end of the state, this Daugaard wants to pollute the other end with uranium mining.

  2. larry kurtz 2014.12.02

    Marty Jackley is a partisan hack.

    The absence of cross-state pollution rules have allowed the Big Stone to pollute Minnesota lakes while Montana and Wyoming coal-fired power plants to waft mercury and other heavy metal oxides into South Dakota causing cancer rates to spike.

    Now Xcel is being allowed to hike rates because earth hatred.

  3. larry kurtz 2014.12.02

    Cory, is 4000 head the upper limit for this kind of CAFO crap?

  4. Steve Sibson 2014.12.02

    I suspect that the push for more taxes to fund roads and bridges is to support roads that go to the planned dairy expansions. They have already started the site section process in Davison County. Tonight is a meeting put on by the SDDOT to provide a master road plan for Davison County. It will be interesting to match up the site selections with the master road plan.

  5. mike from iowa 2014.12.02

    wingnuts turned environmentalists-algae blooms from manure spills turn the lake green is a sign of a healthy ecosystem. See,we,too,are greenies.

  6. Lynn 2014.12.02

    The Strib article also pointed out that the State of Minnesota has had numerous issues with South Dakota's weak environmental laws and enforcement all along the Minnesota/South Dakota border especially with these CAFOs. As mentioned the runoff from these facilities like the one in Brookings County will eventually travel into the Minnesota River which goes into the Miss River.

    Minnesota's DNR has made great strides in cleaning up pollution such as AG runoff going into it's lakes, streams and rivers.

    It seems like South Dakota's approach to environmental laws is similar to North Dakota's dealing with the oil industry.

  7. Jim 2014.12.02

    Great Faces, Gross Places.

  8. Paul Seamans 2014.12.02

    I am going to repeat a comment I made a while back: when Steve Pirner appeared before the Senate Ag Committee at the recent legislature he spent all his time patting himself on the back for all the CAFO's and the oil wells that the DENR had permitted. I don't recall him saying much about how the DENR was protecting the environment. And he was quite proud that all this was done with 80 fewer employees than in the recent past. Man, they need to change the name of the DENR to something that more accurately reflects it's current mission.

  9. GoJacksJC 2014.12.02

    South Dakota also received criticism from IA regarding lax environmental studies concerning it's Hyperion refinery economic development boondoogle (

    Actions like this by the Daugaard and Rounds Administrations represent opportunities for Democrats and like-minded Republicans to foster grassroots support for the SDDP and moderate Republicans as responsible environmental stewards. For instance, we could brand forums as town halls designed to formulate strategy to address ill-advised economic development (which some might argue borders on incompetence). Moreover, we may be able to capitalize on the ties that nonresident college students from neighboring states in our region have established to approach them as prospective donors, volunteers, etc., provided they share concerns about the deleterious impacts of some of these economic development projects.

  10. larry kurtz 2014.12.02

    DENR = Division of Ecocide and Natural Ruination.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.02

    ...Making Interstate Lakes Filthy? (oh, wait, we're only supposed to use that on Kristi articles... ;-) )

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.02

    Jerry: on that uranium, luckily for Daugaard, the watershed flows into South Dakota, so he at least doesn't have to worry about making Wyoming mad.

  13. Tim 2014.12.02

    Crap runs downhill, Minnesotans are about to get a taste of how things are done here.

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.02

    You know, Larry, I'm paging through statute and county code trying to find the reason for that 3,999-head number and I'm not finding it. DENR's "large" category for dairy CAFO wastewater discharge permits is 700 head and up. Brookings County zoning establishes Class A CAFOs, the largest class, at 2,000 head and up.

    But of great interest: Bradley Olson, who farms near Dell Rapids, sent the Brookings County Commission this document explaining Daugaard's dairy expansion plans. Olson connects Crinion's dairy proposal to the new "County Site Analysis Program," which he says has identified 400 potential CAFO sites in four pilot counties. He uses EPA stats to extrapolate that the Oak Lake Dairy will produce the same amount of manure per day as 657,453 people.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.02

    Steve, we could use your help. If you can follow the site analysis process, the road building, and other activities related to CAFOs around Mitchell, we could use some blog posts on the topic on Sibby Online.

  16. Paul Seamans 2014.12.02

    Larry Kurtz; I think you are on the right track with DENR=. I think the rank and file DENR employees are trying to do a good job but it is the leadership up to and through DD where the problem is.

  17. larry kurtz 2014.12.02

    Paul, i grew up sixteen miles from Lake Hendricks and my uncle still has a cabin up there: that's the divide between the Missouri and Mississippi drainages and at risk to the GOP.

    Caring is the hardest part.

  18. 96Tears 2014.12.02

    One mega dairy owner in South Dakota has more rights and credibility than the many people who invested in homes and tourism businesses in the Lake Hendricks drainage area.

    In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court declared corporations are people too, except they can't be arrested and punished for violating our laws and hurting real people. Now, Dennis DumDum has decided cows are people too, as long as they make his rich pals even richer. (Lesson learned: Do not be stupid enough to invest in lake properties in South Dakota.)

    Isn't this the corrupt kind of thinking that spawned the Rounds Racketeering Scam?

  19. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.02

    MN has been very proactive in protecting natural resources, though there are dissenting Minnesotans too. There is a state law that disallows state utility companies from buying electricity from the dirtiest coal plants. I believe SD cleaned up Big Stone due to that law. ND has a law suit against that law in process.

    I'm wondering what action MN will take against SD? The Minnesota River, which Big Stone Lake drains into, is a big recreational vehicle for MN, and a powerful economic force. Multiply that by many times and you've got the Mississippi River in MN too. I wonder if downstream states will sit still for this?

  20. GoJacksJC 2014.12.02

    This site may help add some context ( and demonstrates that MN is not immune to CAFO issues. In fact, this source suggests MN exhibits greater CAFO density than SD. I do not find solace in that, as I believe policies which Mr. Sanderson stated will result in further increases in agricultural operation density. In fact, if you compare the 2002 and 2007 graphics from the aforementioned website, you will notice a considerable increase in density here in SD in those five years.

    I believe, this underscores that our region is collectively impacted by these policies and suggests that perhaps regional action by groups such as the Sierra Club and NRDC may be most effective. I am almost certain the former was involved in the Hyperion opposition.

  21. 96Tears 2014.12.02

    Doesn't Michael Crinion have a history with Joop Bollen and EB-5 financing?

  22. Jana 2014.12.02

    96Tears, yes he does. The EB-5 program was behind his other dairy ventures.

  23. grudznick 2014.12.02

    I am saying and you people are missing the real deal here. Mr. H is usually very quick to critic people and very slow to dole out credits, but that is the internal nature of libbies. So what happened today that Mr. H is missing and not blogging about and how will he squew the question to fit his answer.

    grudznick's question to the libbie masses.
    your answers will not be graded on some French math curve, but they may be poked in the eye

  24. Bill Fleming 2014.12.03

    grudznick, have you been eating those midnight peyote pancakes again? Alice B's brownies? What the heck are you jabbering about up there, mon?

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.03

    96, Crinion came here on an EB-5 visa himself to run a dairy prior to the 2004 change of focus to recruiting outside investors to pour their money into the dairy. Crinion received no outside EB-5 dollars for subsequent dairy projects. Crinion arguably represents the best outcome of EB-5: the investor himself comes to America, runs the operation, and lives where the operation is.

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.03

    (Grudz, we're missing your question. Did you slip under the wrong post?)

  27. Bill Fleming 2014.12.03

    Maybe he slipped on the banana peel he was trying to smoke, Cory. LOL

  28. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.03

    But there we go again, Bill, quick to criticize, slow to credit.

    I'm curious just what credit I'm supposed to assign, and to whom, for proposing to degrade a Minnesota lake for South Dakota's economic gain.

  29. Bill Fleming 2014.12.03

    I give "the grudznick" full credit for being the most mysteriously (and hilariously) drawn character in the SD blogosphere, Cory. He's the Yosemite Samson of Madville... Prof. Elmer Fuddnutz of the War College.

  30. Bill Fleming 2014.12.03

    To tie this back to your topic, maybe grudz is like a big dairy farm... Full of crap and trying to send some of it downstream. LOL

  31. Brad 2014.12.03

    Several concerned citizens that attended the Brookings County, SD Planning & Zoning Committee meeting asked that the permit request be tabled to allow time for the environmental concerns to be addressed. Most of the people did not know this permit was being considered until a few hours before the meeting. They had very little or no time to prepare questions about the proposed dairy. The CAFO on the other hand had a polished team of professionals there. The committee chose not to delay the vote and voted 6-3 in favor of the permit. With so many unanswered questions, an appeal of this decision was filed with the Court per Brookings County Zoning Ordinance and South Dakota law.

  32. Danielle 2014.12.04

    I can't believe what the thieves who are in power in this state are doing. This is literally the rape and pillage of South Dakota. Eventually, the entire area will be declared an environmental superfund cleanup area.

    The "slick boys" of the legal team in attendance know how to get around notifying the good citizens of South Dakota, and then fly back to their high end neighborhoods, laughing all the way at how they bamboozeled the stupid fly-over country hayseeds. Get angry South Dakota and western Minnesota! Start having recall votes for politicians who sell-out your state!

    Not everything can be measured in a monetary value.

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