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DRA Opposes Three Bills; Legislators Want Less Talk, More Corporate Poop in Our Water

Graphic of the Week Award goes to Dakota Rural Action for this banner announcing a rally for clean water and democracy:

DRA Voice Vote Values anti-CAFO banner Feb 2015

Dakota Rural Action is holding the "Rally to Protect Our Voice, Our Vote, and Our Values" Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at the Downtown River Greenway Amphitheater (on the Big Sioux between 6th and 8th Streets) in Sioux Falls.

DRA is steamed about three bills that threaten water quality and the people's right to participate in local zoning decisions:

HB 1173 - Introduced by Representative Qualm (R-21) and Senator Cammack (R-29), this bill would penalize citizens appealing land zoning decisions seen as frivolous. Since courts already have the authority to award damages in frivolous or malicious suits (SDCL 15-17-51), this bills is clearly targeted at preventing citizens from challenging zoning decisions made in their county.

SB 127 - Introduced by Senator Rusch (R-17) and Representative Rasmussen (R-17), this bill would create an exemption to South Dakota law allowing non-family farm corporations to own and operate hog confinements in South Dakota.

HB 1201 - Introduced by Representative Mickelson (R-13) and Senator Cammack (R-29), this bill would reduce the number of votes needed on a county board of adjustment to allow a conditional use permit from 4 out of 5 to 3 out of 5, making it easier for CAFOs to get these permits and move forward [Dakota Rural Action, open letter to South Dakota Legislature, 2015.02.03].

You can sign that open letter, too, and let your legislators know you are tired of their facilitation of the corporate colonization of South Dakota. You can also make legislators hear your voice in person: After briefing the troops, DRA will take its rally to Saturday's Legislative Coffees (apparently Sioux Falls is too sophistimacated to call 'em crackerbarrels): Session 1 starts at 9 a.m. with legislators from Districts 6, 9, and 10; Session 2 starts at 10:45 with legislators from Districts 11 and 12. Both public fora are at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown... where DRA will be out in force guardin' your voice and your water.


  1. Bill Fleming 2015.02.04

    LOL, I'm guessing that first graphic on the left is NOT a Dairy Queen soft chocolate ice cream dollop. But if you were trying to teach hypoglycemics to watch their blood sugar... Ah never mind. :-)

  2. Lynn 2015.02.04

    A cocktail of feces, urine from CAFOs, some oil from future leaky pipelines and add a dash of some Uranium and other radioactive elements that either seeped into our water supply as a result of mining and it will become the drink of South Dakotans.

    We should revise our signs at our state borders stating. Welcome to South Dakota Home of Mr. Yuk!

  3. Lynn 2015.02.04

    I've never seen a representation of feces display a happy face before unless it's a more sinister smile to cause trouble.

  4. Bill Fleming 2015.02.04

    Thanks to the kids, I've seen one on South Park. I forget what his name is though. Mr. Hankey maybe? Sorry, I don't want too look it up. My stomach's kinda queasy this morning. :)

  5. Nick Nemec 2015.02.04

    Howdy ho.

  6. Paul Seamans 2015.02.04

    The South Dakota legislature should be working to strengthening our water protection laws rather than weakening them. Our water is being threatened from different quarters across the state. Powertech/Azarga wants a permit to remove as much water from aquifers for in situ uranium mining as Rapid City uses. Powertech then wants to inject the polluted water back into deep aquifers after use. Gov. Daugaard and SDSM&T are studying to see if the West River Pierre shale can be used as a nuclear waste depository. East River aquifers are near 100% of permitted usuage. DENR Sec. Pirner prides himself on how many CAFO's that his department has permitted. Warnings are posted to prevent people from swimming in the Big Sioux during the summer because of fecal matter and fertilizer/chemical runoff. Oil spills are contaminating rivers in Montana and North Dakota and the Keystone XL poses a threat to our Missouri River water when it crosses rivers such as the Cheyenne and the White. Probably over half of South Dakota's population receives it's drinking water from the Missouri via rural water systems, this includes the Sioux Falls metro area. We would do well to learn from our native friends in the respect that they afford water. The huge West River water system, the Mni Wiconi is aptly named, "Water is Life".

  7. mike from iowa 2015.02.04

    Seriously,all that is is a soft serve chocolate ice cream sans cone. It won't hurt you unless it rilly is the drizzlies.

  8. mike from iowa 2015.02.04

    North Carolina wingnut sinator Thom Tillis wants to ban restaurants from posting signs telling employees to wash hands after using the biffie. Says it is an assault on worker's freedumbs.

  9. Lynn 2015.02.04

    Paul isn't the James River similar to the Big Sioux in terms of pollution? I've read where Game Fish and Parks advised limited contact with the Jim River in Sanborn County in regards to recreation.

  10. Paul Seamans 2015.02.04

    I am going to repeat a joke that I heard years ago: "There is good news and bad news today. The good news is that by the year 2020 we will all be drinking sewage water, the bad news is that there won't be enough to go around". Maybe this isn't quite so funny as it used to seem.

  11. Paul Seamans 2015.02.04

    Lynn, you are probably right on the Jim River. A big threat to the Big Sioux are all the Confined Animal Feeding Operations that are being built along the I29 corridor. An interesting side note is that in North Dakota all the waters have a warning about eating the fish caught in these waters. The reason being because of the mercury that is in the air from the coal fired power plants that comes down with the rainfall.

  12. Lynn 2015.02.04

    Is there this false sense of security here in South Dakota with many people just assuming that our lakes and rivers are cleaner and safer for fish consumption than for example Minnesota's when it really comes down to Minnesota's DNR going much further in testing?

  13. Roger 2015.02.04

    DENR knows what the pollution levels are in most water bodies in south dakota. The trick is when the levels get too high, you raise the standard then there is no problem. there are only a few people hired by the state to cover all and inspect/regulate the large animal factories and usually give a 3 month heads up as to when the inspection will occur. you see if we don't look for a problem, then there cant be a problem and everything is wonderfull.

  14. Paul Seamans 2015.02.04

    Lynn, I think that our DENR has lost it's way. While I think that the rank and file workers have their heart in their work it is the leadership that I am wary of. Last legislative session DENR Sec. Steve Pirner addressed, I believe it was, the Senate Ag. Committee. Sec. Pirner was more proud of the number of CAFO's and oil wells that the DENR permitted than anything else. The DENR also supported giving up any permitting of uranium mining in South Dakota, instead turning over this authority to the federal government.

  15. Paul Seamans 2015.02.04

    I should add that Sec. Pirner also noted that the DENR is doing all this permitting of oil wells and CAFO's with 80 fewer employees. Fewer employees will mean "see no evil".

  16. Sam 2 2015.02.04

    These are all solid bills that need to pass to allow our state to create jobs for our college graduates and keep our blue collar workers in the state.

    It is time we allow our state to advance instead of being a bunch of just say no to anything state.

    Keep in mind where your food comes from. The DRA program works well in Africia where 50 percent of the people are starving. 9 billion people by 2050 70 percent of the food we need by then will need to come from new technologies.

  17. Lynn 2015.02.04


    "These are all solid bills that need to pass to allow our state to create jobs for our college graduates and keep our blue collar workers in the state."

    Jobs as in the truck drivers and those associated with shipping in bottled water when our own aquifers, rivers and lakes are contaminated and not safe to drink or use?

    Jobs as in purification of water and cleanup of sites due to environmental damage?

    Jobs in the medical field as a result of our state's citizens being exposed to the harmful effects of bacteria and chemicals due to environmental damage from entities that support the bills mentioned above?

  18. Lynn 2015.02.04


    Consumers are getting more educated and concerned about where their food comes from. There is no way I'd like to get my food from a CAFO or 6 million chicken industrial farm that would be possibly located in Turner County. That includes fast food restaurants all the way down to grocery store shelves.

    I'd rather support the "local" movement which keeps dollars local and is healthier for consumers and the environment.

  19. leslie 2015.02.04

    Important stuff. where do these bills come from, Sam2??

    ps-that statement about drinking treated effluent is accurate but may have been directed moreso at the desert SW. here we have that great big mighty muddy MO', dividing the state. we all can drink that, treated in Pierre, and the heck with ground water pollution. as Sam2 says, we gotta feed billions so lets not be the state of NO.

    who is behind these bills? Kochs? they promised not to spill oil into the yellowstone and the rest of the "ladder" of rivers KXL ect will cross all the way to the Koch Gulf refineries.

    so our water in the missouri should be clean right? nothing going on in ND right, and montana is turning purple w/ all those hollywood yuppies buying out ranchers? they won't pollute us upstream will they?

    what is the purpoe of the uranium? we don't have a place to dispose of nuke waste, but maybe if we ruin our ground water now it'll be easy for Regents, SDSM&T and DOE, Sandia, Livermore, ect. to bury nuke waste in edgemont shale in the future.

    i love long term corporate capitalist/tiny red state planning!

  20. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.02.04

    Lynn, you know your stuff. Good answers.

    I wonder if Cargill, Monsanto or Smithfield wrote those bills?

  21. Donald Pay 2015.02.04

    I support recycling, but Republicans seem to recycle the same bad ideas every decade. I found a Letter to the Editor I wrote that was published in the Argus Leader sometime around 1998. I have modified it a little to suit today, but kept the tone as it was back then. Here goes:

    "There must be some chemical in feces, human or hog, some pheromone, perhaps, mixed with the odor and the campaign checks from the corporate hog industry, that causes fat-cat, or rather fat-hog, Republicans to lie. How else can one explain the Republican Party's nearly three-decade long quest to inundate the state with poop?

    Twenty seven years ago, Gov. Bill Janklow unleashed the scam to import sewage ash from the Twin Cities to extract gold. The sewage ash was dumped in southwestern South Dakota awaiting the miracle machine Janklow promised would process the stuff.

    Surprise! No magic machine, but lots of stuff, piled high, to blow around. It was finally buried, and those pheromones no longer can satisfy that particular Republican fetish.

    Now we have the latest Republican fetish scam: bring mountains of hog manure to South Dakota by encouraging out-of-state corporate farms and limiting local citizens' ability to oppose them. Large-scale corporate hog confinement operations appear to be the solution to this particular Republican fetish.

    Look how devious those pheromone excited Republicans have become. When they were refused to promulgate and enforce tough state siting rules for concentrated animal feeding operations, they said that's a local zoning issue. They repeatedly refuse to tighten up rules, because, they say, locals should decide them.

    But zoning and other local boards have turned down Republican-favored hog manure factories. What can a fetish-starved Republican do to feel complete?

    It must be in the genes because Mark Mickelson, son of a former Governor who kept the sewage ash coming into the state and who tried to site a huge corporate hog farm near the Oahe Reservoir, has an answer: he wants to make it harder for local leaders to turn down these feces factories.

    After nearly 30 years isn't it time for fat-hog Republicans to get some treatment? South Dakota shouldn't have to enable Republicans disgusting fetish."

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