Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Play

Public health experts are concerned many kids have missed important checkups and vaccinations, and a third DC Police officer who responded to the January 6 insurrection takes his own life.

Play

The White House calls for states to rescue renters, Senators dissect a massive infrastructure plan, and both the White House and Congress are losing approval in the eyes of voters.

Ag Dept., DNR Merger for SD Back in Spotlight

Play

Friday, January 15, 2021   

PIERRE, S.D. -- South Dakota's governor is reviving her proposal to merge two state agencies, including one that oversees protections for public lands and waterways, raising concerns from environmental groups.

In her State-of-the-State address this week, Gov. Kristi Noem made mention of her idea from last year to combine the Department of Environment and Natural Resources with the Agriculture Department.

Noem said agriculture is the state's top industry and needs new ways to keep it thriving.

Chris Hesla, executive director of the South Dakota Wildlife Federation, called the merger a bad idea.

"The two organizations perform distinctly different missions and should be separate," Hesla contended. "The majority of the DNR's mission has nothing to do with agriculture, although the portion that does overlap primarily is [of] a regulatory nature."

Hesla worried a merger would weaken enforcement efforts for pollution from farm runoff. Some ag-industry leaders have expressed concerns as well, especially if future governors place a greater emphasis on protecting the environment.

But the South Dakota Farm Bureau backs the proposed merger, saying it would create efficiencies, as producers routinely work with both agencies.

Hesla stated his biggest concern is how a merger would affect the state's water resources.

He noted surface-water conditions are deteriorating, and agriculture has been a key contributor to climate-related issues.

"Agricultural pollution is a threat, and it's a worry," Hesla cautioned.

A report last year by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said 78% of South Dakota rivers and streams are "impaired" in terms of water quality.

Under state law, the Legislature would have to authorize a combined budget for both departments to merge. That's expected to come up in budget talks this session.


get more stories like this via email

The commission charged with drawing Ohio's 99 House and 33 Senate districts meets this week. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- New congressional and legislative maps will soon start to take shape in Ohio. The Ohio Redistricting Commission convenes for the …


Social Issues

DENVER -- Today marks the day Black women in the U.S. will finally earn as much as a white, non-Hispanic man was paid in 2020. Ashley Panelli…

Environment

CHICAGO -- As Illinois residents get ready for more high temperatures this August, utility watchdogs are urging people to practice energy efficiency …


Chronic wasting disease can be transmitted between deer, along with food and soil contaminated by bodily fluids. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

WARREN, Pa. -- A temporary animal-feeding ban is being proposed for the Allegheny National Forest after a captive deer tested positive for chronic …

Social Issues

LOS ANGELES -- Hunger-fighting advocacy groups are speaking out in California, drawing attention to the continuing problem of food insecurity…

A new report from Georgetown University and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a coordinated and far-reaching public health campaign about childhood vaccinations. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Parents are gearing up for their children to return to the classroom for the first time in over a year, and public health …

Environment

LITCHFIELD, N.H. -- A 63-acre parcel of land along the Merrimack River is becoming part of the New Hampshire Agrarian Commons. The property, known as …

Social Issues

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia's General Assembly Special Session begins today to budget more than $4 billion in federal COVID relief funds, and advocates …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021