South Dakota Environmental Issues
Missouri River Flood Risk
The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) continues to monitor flood conditions along the Missouri River. Recent information from the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) indicates releases from Gavins Point Dam will remain at 75,000 cubic feet per second for at least a month and are likely to remain above average into the fall. The elevated release rates are necessary due to the Corps holding back water in the Fort Randall and Oahe reservoirs during March flooding events and ongoing spring rain and snow melt. The Corps predicts as much as 50 million acre-feet of runoff in the Missouri River Basin upstream of the Missouri River at Sioux City this year. This is the second highest volume ever to flow through the system trailing only the amount of runoff seen during the 2011 flood event. For more information visit the Corps Missouri River Basin Water Management Information website.
TransCanada Water Right Permit Applications
In preparation for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in South Dakota, TransCanada and two other parties have applied to the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for water right permits to facilitate construction activities and supply potable water to temporary workforce camps. A total of five water right applications were submitted and all five have been contested. Contested case proceedings are ongoing before the state Water Management Board. More information about the proceedings including applications, petitions, motions, orders, schedules, recorded audio, and other documents are available through DENR’s One-Stop Contested Case Proceedings website.
Manganese in Drinking Water
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed their fourth round sampling for the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR4). The purpose of UCMR4 is to assist EPA in determining the occurrence of unregulated contaminants in drinking water and whether future regulation is warranted for the various contaminants sampled. Manganese is one of the contaminants of interest that required sampling under UCMR4. Based on a review of available manganese data from the UCMR4 sampling, the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) identified one public water supply system with manganese levels above the current health advisory and is reviewing data from other systems in the state to determine what, if any, action is needed. For more information visit DENR Manganese in Drinking Water website.
Volkswagen Settlement - South Dakota Mitigation Trust
On January 24, 2016, the United States and the State of California filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen (VW) alleging it had manufactured diesel cars sold and operated in the U.S. beginning in 2009 with systems intended to defeat emissions tests. These systems allowed vehicles to emit nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution at levels that significantly exceeded the amounts allowed under the Clean Air Act. Volkswagen has agreed to settle some of these allegations. One portion of the settlement requires Volkswagen to fund an Environmental Mitigation Trust to be used to offset the lifetime excess nitrogen oxide emissions emitted by the Volkswagen vehicles in violation of the Clean Air Act. The fund is distributed among states, territories and federally-recognized tribes based on the proportion of affected VW diesel vehicles registered in each jurisdiction. South Dakota expects to receive $8.125 million dollars from the Environmental Mitigation Trust. But first the state must develop a Beneficiary Mitigation Plan for allocating mitigation funds to produce the greatest air quality benefit in terms of nitrogen oxide emission reductions and reduced public exposure. Categories of eligible vehicles and equipment are:
1. Class 8 local freight trucks and port drayage trucks
2. Class 4-8 school buses, shuttle buses or transit buses
3. Freight switcher locomotives
4. Ferries and tugs
5. Ocean going vessels shorepower
6. Class 4-7 local freight trucks
7. Airport ground support equipment
8. Forklifts and port cargo handling equipment
9. Light duty Zero Emissions Vehicle supply equipment
10. Matching funds for projects eligible under the federal Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA)
The Plan was developed through a public process. A public hearing was held by the Board of Minerals and Environment (BME) to finalize and approve the draft beneficiary mitigation plan on August 16, 2018. There were no changes made and the approved beneficiary mitigation plan has been submitted to the Trustee. Further information is available at: http://denr.sd.gov/des/aq/aaVW.aspx .
New Buffer Strip Property Tax Incentive Map
DENR has added a map of waterbodies eligible for property tax incentive to the department’s interactive database maps online at http://denr.sd.gov/datagis.aspx. Under Senate Bill 66, introduced by Gov. Dennis Daugaard and referred to by legislators as “the buffer bill,” eligible riparian buffer strips are assessed at 60 percent of the land’s agricultural income value. The bill specifies 575 lake listings and 11,000 miles of streams that are eligible. County maps of eligible lakes and streams are available on the site for downloading. For information about the property tax incentive, visit the Department of Revenue website at http://dor.sd.gov/bufferstrips.
Mineral Mountain Resources (SD) Inc.
Mineral Mountain has contacted DENR indicating drilling operations under EXNI-427 are restarting. Drilling is set to begin by September 28, 2019. Water for the project will come from Lead, SD according to Mineral Mountain. The company is also applying for a new EXNI in the same area covered under EXNI-427. The new EXNI will allow the company to drill additional holes at a deeper depth not to exceed 5,000 feet. Status updates concerning the project are available here.