Folks send us candidates all sorts of mail. Some of that mail is boring, like the “Buy More Robocalls!” flyers and the campaign newsletter on which some Aberdonian scribbled swear words and slander but not his name.
But some of the mail is actually useful. Consider the Big Sioux River Advocate, the July 2016 newsletter of the Friends of the Big Sioux River. FBSR dedicates over half of its newsletter to this year’s (vetoed!) Senate Bill 136, the grassy buffer strips bill, and its sponsor, farmer and retiring Senator Jim Peterson (D-4/Revillo). FBSR knows riparian buffers can play a vital role in achieving their ambitious goal of making the entire Big Sioux River swimmable by 2025. They post this summary of the benefits of the grassy buffer strips SB 136 would have incentivized:
Remove 50% of ag chemical pollution, catch 75% of eroded sediment—SB 136 would make that happen at no cost to the state or counties in the Big Sioux watershed. FBSR says it will work with allies to bring another riparian buffer bill that addresses Department of Revenue concerns to the 2017 Legislature. They may find an ally in new Agriculture Secretary Mike Jaspers, who said last month that he wants to talk to the Governor about revisiting SB 136 to address soil erosion and benefit agriculture.
The Senate passed SB 136 unanimously and voted with just one dissent to override the Governor’s ill-advised veto. Unfortunately, my opponent in the Senate race, Rep. Al Novstrup, voted twice against SB 136 in the House. I urge District 3 to send me to the Senate to ensure that the 2017 grassy buffer strips bill passes and that farmers along the Big Sioux, the Jim, and all of South Dakota’s waterways are taxed fairly for investing in everybody-wins conservation activities.