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LETTER: Fight for the safety of our water

To the Editor: Between the James, the Big Sioux, and the mighty Missouri, I have lived, worked, and played along the waterways of South Dakota my entire life. The South Dakota Department of Energy and Natural Resources is tasked with the responsi...

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To the Editor:

Between the James, the Big Sioux, and the mighty Missouri, I have lived, worked, and played along the waterways of South Dakota my entire life. The South Dakota Department of Energy and Natural Resources is tasked with the responsibility of safeguarding these rivers, along with all bodies of water in the state of South Dakota.

While animal agriculture practices have changed significantly in the last few decades, the DENR permit process for confined animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, has not changed. Animal factory farms produce huge amounts of untreated liquid manure annually and runoff is polluting waterways in our state, contributing to the Big Sioux River being named one of the dirtiest in the nation. The DENR's proposed General Water Pollution Control Permit needs to address this problem and require not only the monitoring of ground and surface water for pollution, but also the hiring of independent, outside inspectors instead of accepting self-inspections from CAFO operators.

A contested case hearing will be held in Pierre from Sept. 27-29 for reissuing the General Water Pollution Control permit for Confined Animal Feeding Operations, giving South Dakotans a chance to fight for the safety of their waters.

New factory farm permits must require mandatory water protection, not voluntary, and the public should be alerted when spills occur. South Dakota is a beautiful place with abundant natural resources. We need to protect our water and soil to ensure future generations can enjoy, thrive, and grow in this great state.

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Emelie Haigh

Volga

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