South Dakota Environmental Issues
Governor Comments on Corps Surplus Waters Rulemaking
Gov. Dennis Daugaard recently called the proposed Army Corps of Engineers surplus waters rulemaking “unacceptable to South Dakota.” The proposed rule expands federal storage right claims for the Missouri River reservoirs to include all water stored in the dams and rejects the state’s right to manage and allocate any natural flows. The Governor wrote, “South Dakota respectfully requests the US Army Corps of Engineers to reject the current proposed rule and end this federal take-over attempt of nearly all the Missouri River water in South Dakota.” The Governor’s comment letter can be read in its entirety at http://denr.sd.gov/gov_corpruleletter.pdf.
Governor Signs Buffer Strip Legislation
Vegetative buffer strips alongside streams and lakes improve water quality by slowing down and filtering out pollutants in runoff water. To incentivize buffer strips on agricultural land adjacent to water bodies, Governor Daugaard introduced SB 66. It easily cleared both houses of the South Dakota Legislature and the Governor signed it on March 8. During last year’s legislative session, a similar bill was vetoed by the Governor due to concerns regarding the constitutionality of the tax incentive. The Governor’s bill this year overcame those concerns by creating a separate land class for buffers and also provides incentives for wider buffer strips - up to 150 feet wide. For more on the bill, visit http://www.sdlegislature.gov/Legislative_Session/Bills/Bill.aspx?Bill=66&Session=2017.
Governors Signs Water and Environment Funding Bill
The annual Governor's Water and Environment Funding Bill (SB 70), also known as the Omnibus Water Funding Bill, has cleared both houses of the South Dakota Legislature and has been signed by the Governor. Key sections of the bill appropriate $13.2 million from the Water and Environment Fund to provide financial assistance for drinking water, wastewater and waste management projects that protect human health and the environment while keeping infrastructure services affordable. Two of the largest sources of dedicated funds to the Water and Environment Fund are revenues from On-line Lottery and the Petroleum Tank Inspection Fee. For more on the bill, visit http://www.sdlegislature.gov/Legislative_Session/Bills/Bill.aspx?Bill=70&Session=2017.
DENR 2016 Integrated Report Approved by EPA
DENR has received U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approval of its 2016 Integrated Report. The biennial report, required under the federal Clean Water Act, is used by the state to identify impaired waterbodies in South Dakota. The report contains an assessment of the surface water quality of South Dakota’s waters, a description of South Dakota’s water quality monitoring programs, pollutants causing impairments of the water bodies and identification of waters targeted for total maximum daily load development. A total maximum daily load (TMDL) is a determination of the amount of pollution a waterbody can receive and still maintain water quality standards. To see the EPA approval letter...
RESPEC to Complete Big Sioux River Basin Hydrologic and Hydraulic Model
RESPEC, a consulting firm out of Rapid City, has been selected to develop a new hydrologic and hydraulic model of the Big Sioux River basin. RESPEC was selected from several consulting firms that submitted proposals for the project. RESPEC began work on the project this fall and will complete the project in late 2018. The project includes creating a hydrologic and hydraulic model of the basin and producing a web-based flood inundation mapping tool. The model will more accurately portray the complex hydrology of the Big Sioux River basin and help local, state and federal officials to better prepare for and respond to flood events.
General Permit for CAFOs Adopted
The contested case hearing to reissue the General Water Pollution Control Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) was held Sept. 27-29 in Pierre. After 2 1/2 days of testimony, Secretary Steve Pirner, acting as hearing chairman, approved revisions and adopted the general permit. The permit will now take effect 30 days after it has been signed by the Secretary, who cannot sign it until after attorneys have completed findings of fact and conclusions of law. Representing the Feedlot Permit Program, the Office of Attorney General submitted the first set of draft Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law â€“ 39 pages, 244 findings, and 20 conclusions â€“ on Nov. 21. The other parties, to include Dakota Rural Action, had 30 days to submit their objections and findings, but due to the workload that is contemplated for locating the Agency's proposed facts in the record, Dakota Rural Action requested a 45-day extension. The 45-day extension with a deadline of Feb. 4, 2017, was granted by Hearing Examiner Catherine Duenwald on Dec. 12, 2016. For audio recordings of the hearing and the adopted version of the general permit…
DENR's Interactive Database Maps
DENR has several interactive database maps on its GIS Interactive Map Dashboard at http://denr.sd.gov/datagis.aspx. The interactive maps show oil and gas permits and wells, water well completion reports, licensed well drillers, licensed pump installers, water level readings for measured observation wells, historic lake elevation readings and outlets for measured lakes, permitted solid waste facilities, dry draw location notices, documented spill sites, regulated above and below ground storage tanks, recycling facilities and construction aggregate sites.
DENR Cancels Clean Power Plan Public Input Meetings
On Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, the U. S. Supreme Court issued a stay in EPA's Clean Power Plan that halts or postpones the effectiveness of EPA’s Plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel power plants. With the stay in place, DENR cancelled public input meetings scheduled to fulfill EPA’s public participation requirements. For more…
Missouri River Issue
South Dakota's interests in the Missouri River are in jeopardy. A draft US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) "surplus water report" threatens South Dakota's interests in at least two major ways. First, the Corps wants to determine whether water is available from the Missouri River to satisfy certain types of uses as well as existing water uses from the mainstem reservoirs. Secondly, the Corps also plans to start charging a fee to certain water users above the mainstem reservoirs. For more…