Monday, October 25, 2021

Play

Younger children may soon be able to get the COVID vaccine, plus a legal dispute over social-studies standards in South Dakota simmers over references to Native American culture.

Play

President Biden makes his case for his spending package in New Jersey as Sen. Joe Manchin says a deal could be reached this week; plus former Facebook employee Frances Haugen testifies before Parliament in London.

Play

An all-Black Oklahoma town joins big cities in seeking reparations; a Kentucky vaccination skeptic does a 180; telehealth proves invaluable during pandemic; and spooky destinations lure tourists at Halloween.

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

Cardiovascular disease occurs every 39 seconds and still is the No. 1 killer of Americans, according to the American Heart Association. (Adobe stock)

Health and Wellness

ARLINGTON, Va. -- COVID-19 has exposed inequities in health care, and this year's Greater Washington Region Heart Walk aims to raise funds to close …


Health and Wellness

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Congress has an opportunity to help lower prescription-drug costs for Ohioans, who, along with other Americans pay roughly three …

Social Issues

BLOOMINGTON, IN -- Universities in Indiana are working to support Afghan students and scholars; both those still in Afghanistan and those arriving to …


Advocates for clean energy say installation of air-source or ground-source heat pumps would be best to use in the switch to electricity for heating, cooling and cooking. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

ALBANY, N.Y. - Groups in support of renewable energy are pushing for legislation and other initiatives to accelerate complete electrification of …

Environment

BOISE, Idaho - Action on behalf of Northwest salmon could be in the works after announcements from the Biden administration, leaders in Washington …

The United States currently has 2,000 operational biogas systems linked to farms, landfills, wastewater treatment facilities and food waste, according to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- After the first settlement of its kind in North Carolina capping limits on emissions from a biogas plant in Sampson County…

Social Issues

HILLSBORO, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Agriculture recently completed an investigation into a suburban Portland school for the misuse of toxic …

Social Issues

HELENA, Mont. - Republican lawmakers in Montana want to investigate the 2020 election. Some are concerned this could weaken trust in voting. In a …

 

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