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DENR Works with Big Ag to Draft New CAFO Permit Rules

Dakota Rural Action and South Dakota Farmers Union say the Department of Environment and Natural Resources left them out of the process of updating the General Water Pollution Control Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. DRA and SDFU say DENR did make sure that the agriculture-industrial complex had seats at the table to create the rough draft for the new handbook:

One would think that a permitting process that affects every person in our state would be a very open process. Thousands of head of cattle, pigs, and poultry produce billions of gallons of manure every year. This permit regulates how that manure is handled in a CAFO setting: storage and removal. The state’s waterways are threatened on a daily basis by this process—many citizens’ drinking water is affected by these regulations.

…The DENR started the updating process by inviting various groups to the table for discussion and input. The select few included the SD Dairy Association, the Cattlemen’s Association, the Pork Producers Group—I think you can see where this is going.

There was no representation at the table [for] Farmers’ Union and Dakota Rural Action. Nor was there representation from the people who care about clean water or air—various clean waterway/river groups, water development districts, or other preservation and conservation groups. There was also no representation from neighbors who live next to the 5000-25,000 cow dairies and mega pig and poultry farms [Dakota Rural Action, press release, 2015.09.08].

DRA and SDFU will have a chance to catch up with Big Ag and comment on the new General Permit once DENR schedules public hearings on the document. But it would be nice if the state’s department charged with protecting the environment sought more input at the start from someone other than the biggest exploiters of the environment.



  1. larry kurtz 2015-09-09 07:44

    The Department of Ecocide and Natural Ruination is an arm of SDGOP: why anyone is surprised by its actions remains a mystery.

  2. Paul Seamans 2015-09-09 08:22

    Under Gov. Daugaard’s leadership the DENR has truly lost it’s way. Two legislative sessions ago DENR Sec Pirner, in a yearly update to the SD House Commerce Committee, bragged about how many CAFO permits and how many oil well permits that his department had issued in the previous year. And they had done that with 80 fewer employees. Sec. Pirner never mentioned anything about how many water sources had been protected or cleaned up or any other related matters. I feel that the rank and file workers at DENR are still trying to do their job but the problem comes from higher up. This CAFO business is all part of Gov. Daugaard’s economic development plan for SD.

  3. Jana 2015-09-09 11:28

    Just seems funny that the governor and the Party of Lincoln have hijacked and bastardized Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address of “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth” and replaced the word ‘people’ and with ‘business.’

  4. Roger 2015-09-09 13:27

    according to their website they have listed the draft permit as a meeting notice on the 17th of Sep. although i can find no reference to where or when or an agenda or any other information… is this considered public notice?

  5. Donald Pay 2015-09-09 13:41

    Yeah, not really a surprise. This is what crony capitalism gets you. The polluters get a seat at the table and the people, well, they get to eat their shit, literally in this case.

    I can’t tell you how much taxpayer’s money DENR has cost South Dakota taxpayers, but they never mention their eff-ups, and how much those cost. Sewage ash, Lonetree, Guilt Edge are ones I know about.

    Paul Seamans mentioned how they present themselves at the Legislature, bragging about how many permits they hand out, as if that justifies the Legislature passing through all the federal money they get to fake like they care about the environment and public health. Really, that’s been going on for decades, because although the DENR heads are just awful, they are geniuses compared to the know-nothings in the Legislature. When you have to justify yourself to the drek and pond scum that inhabit third floor of the Capital Building, you end up becoming a prostitute.

  6. Donald Pay 2015-09-09 13:54

    Just looking at the link, I think this thing may be at the “Preliminary Draft” stage, so I would expect DENR might be cajoled into meeting with others prior to putting out the “Draft Permit.” I would definitely make the offer/demand to DENR. My understanding is that it would be the “Draft Permit” that would then be subject to a hearing, if petitioned, so this might have some ways to go before it becomes final. People do have to make the effort with DENR to demand fair treatment. They do not automatically include everyone, but, if for no other reason than they can get their money yanked by EPA, they have to play fair. So, my advise is don’t roll over and whine. Stand up for your rights.

  7. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-09-09 14:41

    “Department of Ecocide and Natural Ruination.”

    Clearly Larry, that is an accurate interpretation of SD’s DENR. Sad.

  8. larry kurtz 2015-09-09 14:52

    Indeed, Deb: another ghastly chapter in Bill Janklow’s biography right next to Citibank.

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