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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

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Air pollution linked to coal plants more deadly than previously thought; Israel-Hamas truce extends as aid reaches Gaza; high school seniors face big college application challenges.

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House Republicans differ on January 6th footage, Speaker Johnson says any Ukraine funding must include changes to border policy and former New Jersey Governor Christie says former President Trump is fueling anti-Semitism and hate.

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Rural low income youth, especially boys, experience greater economic mobility than those in cities, a new government rule should help level the playing field for small poultry growers, and the Kansas Governor wants her state to expand Medicaid.

EPA Decision on Factory Farms Criticized by Clean-Water Advocates

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Tuesday, August 29, 2023   

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced it will hold off on imposing new regulations dealing with factory farms amid concerns about their link to water pollution. The decision has frustrated environmental advocates in South Dakota and elsewhere. The agency was responding to a 6 year old petition filed by dozens of groups wanting tougher enforcement of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, under the Clean Water Act. The EPA will instead form a committee to explore the matter, a process that could take almost two years.

Frank James, director of Dakota Rural Action, expressed his disappointment with the EPA's denial of the petition, suggesting South Dakota needs help keeping these operations in check.

"It's clear that they're having an impact on the environment," he said. "We have some of the most polluted rivers in the nation."

A 2020 state report found that 78% of South Dakota's rivers and streams are impaired. James said state government caters to the powerful interests of industrial agriculture and operators contributing to any water pollution. State officials could not be reached for comment. Livestock groups praised the EPA decision, arguing current regulations are effective, and that producers are adopting climate-smart practices.

By not taking immediate action, James suggested the EPA is going against the promise of the Clean Water Act, which is to ensure access to suitable waterways for various purposes.

"I've talked to many people that they won't let their children swim in the surface waters anymore because of the amount of pollution and algae and other things that can cause harm to people," he continued.

The EPA said it shares environmental concerns over the large livestock operations and agrees many may be in violation of the Clean Water Act, but added studying the issue will lead to an informed decision regarding any reforms.


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