PIERRE — A state official approved revisions Thursday to South Dakota's general permit for concentrated animal feeding operations. Steve Pirner made the decision after two and one-half days of testimony at a contested case hearing. Pirner is secretary of environment and natural resources for Gov. Dennis Daugaard. The general permit sets regulations for manure storage and usage. The regulations are intended to protect surface water and shallow aquifers. Hundreds of livestock, dairy and poultry producers in South Dakota operate under the general permit.
PIERRE — Lawyers for livestock and poultry groups blocked testimony at a state permit hearing Wednesday about whether feedlot manure contributes to antibiotic resistance. The hearing officer wouldn't allow the presentation by Don Kelley, a licensed pathologist and medical doctor from Rapid City. Kelley is the state chairman for Dakota Rural Action, a citizens group that emphasizes food and environmental safety. Dakota Rural Action is contesting the state's proposed updates for the general permit that covers confined animal feeding operations (CAFO).
PIERRE — The contested case on issuing a new version of South Dakota's general permit for concentrated animal feeding operations began Tuesday with an attempt to delay the start. Kelsea Sutton, the lawyer representing Dakota Rural Action, said the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources didn't provide copies of revised drafts. "The agency did this wrong and messed up the process," Sutton said. She noted the permit has expired and was last considered 13 years ago. "We have to do this right."
PIERRE — The speed limit on U.S. 81 along Watertown's south side won't be reduced after all. State Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist said Monday the plan now is to install a four-way stop at the intersection of U.S. 81 and the local South Connector. Currently the intersection is a two-way stop for traffic on the connector, which is Twentieth Avenue SE and 173 Street. Watertown city officials had petitioned the state Transportation Commission to cut the speed limit to 35 mph on that stretch of U.S. 81.
PIERRE — The state Transportation Commission on Monday approved proceeding with negotiations to transfer several miles of service road to the city of Box Elder. The deal would open the north side of Interstate 90 to development between exits 61 and 63. It also would clear the way for expansion some day of Interstate 90 to six lanes from Ellsworth Air Force Base into Rapid City. The plan would be set forth in an agreement to be signed between Box Elder, Pennington County and the state Department of Transportation.
PIERRE — Some people on the South Dakota Board of Education want to write a new mission statement. The reason is obvious. They want to show they weren't responsible for the stealing, followed by the lying and finally the killings connected to the Gear Up program. No matter that the man who was running Gear Up was on the state Board of Education too. He stepped aside after the six bodies were found in the ruins of the house fire at Platte last September. They were first shot to death.
BELLE FOURCHE — The state board that oversees water projects traveled 110 years into the past Thursday to see how a feat of agricultural engineering in the dry terrain of Butte County continues helping produce crops where they wouldn't grow otherwise. The Belle Fourche irrigation district supplies water during tough times of the growing season to more than 57,000 acres of private farms and ranches.
SPEARFISH — An official for the consulting firm hired to build a real-time flood modeling system for the Big Sioux River basin met Friday with the state Board of Water and Natural Resources about the project. Jason Love, a senior vice president at RESPEC in Rapid City, said his team would develop pieces starting with the stretch of river from Sioux Falls to the confluence of the Missouri River and deliver them for use as they are ready during the next two-plus years.
SPEARFISH — The state Board of Water and Natural Resources approved six grants Friday to assist on waste management projects across South Dakota. Ecomaniacs, a non-profit based in Sioux Falls, receives a $4,000 grant for its public awareness activities. Madison receives a $17,000 grant for its new cell planned at its restricted-use site at Junius. Naples receives a $23,840 grant to clean up its tree-dump facility where waste was illegally dumped during the past 23 years.
PIERRE — The numbers of high school graduates have stayed flat for the past 10 years in South Dakota and that trend is shown again this fall in flat enrollments at the six state universities and the four public technical institutes. The state Board of Regents, whose members govern the state universities, released data Wednesday showing the headcount increased slightly and the credit hours went down slightly for the fall 2016 semester.