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SB 134: Ditch Green Building Standards for State Facilities

In 2008, Governor Mike Rounds got the Legislature to enact Senate Bill 188 (now SDCL 5-14-32 through 5-14-38, weakened slightly in 2015 by HB 1029) to require state building projects to comply with green building standards. Building to such standards usually adds 0% to 4% to building costs—maybe 12.5% to achieve the highest standards. In return, green projects create more jobs, and buildings meeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards use less energy and water, reduce operating costs and increase cash available for other investment and innovation, raise property values, provide better working conditions, and fight climate change and coronavirus.

To spare South Dakota the scourge of all those green benefits, Senator Ryan Maher (R-28/Isabel) proposes Senate Bill 134, which would gut those green building standards for all state building projects. SB 134 would excuse renovation of state buildings from meeting any LEED standards. SB 134 would strike the language requiring new construction of heated, ventilated, or air-conditioned state facilities to “meet or exceed a high performance green building standard” and instead say designs for new state construction “must attempt to achieve the highest rating, reasonably obtainable, in accordance with the high-performance green building standard.”

In other words (forgive me, my little green friend), Try or Try Not. There Is No Do.

Section 7 of SB 134 repeals the criteria allowing waivers from green building standards, because SB 134 is waiving green building standards for all state projects.

Come on, Senator Maher: South Dakota is already losing the confidence of venture capitalists. We have enough culture-war yahoos undoing what little good might have come from spending our coronavirus dollars on tourism ads. Why make our state look more regressive? Green energy helped save South Dakota’s economy and budget amidst the pandemic. Withdraw Senate Bill 134, and let’s stick to Mike Rounds’s good idea and keep building for the future.


  1. jake 2021-02-04 09:50

    Cory, I wouldn’t bet against this bill with your dime! Here in our SD state of denial, if something appears to be a liberal or Democratic idea of any sort, it has to be shi#canned immediately because we can’t have those damned coastal liberal ideas getting in place here, even in state taxpayer buildings.
    Oh, but now a pipeline that could pollute the whole Missouri River and Oahe have to go forward, no matter the potential catastrophe to land or water or landowners.
    Green is the way to go as last year the national economy showed that ‘green’ way out-pace fossil fuels in producing new, well-paying jobs!

  2. Loren 2021-02-04 10:51

    And here I thought that “Take Me Back to the Fifties” was an oldies music station. Turns out it is the REPUBLICAN PARTY! ;-)

  3. RST Tribal Member at 57572 2021-02-04 15:58

    Republican inbred on display in 1 party state. 8 am November 8, 2022 cannot come soon enough.

  4. Mark Anderson 2021-02-04 17:27

    Come on guys, you know the trump take on anything green. From lights, to showers to flushing toilets. He lead the way against Leeds. Most of those state buildings are in Pierre and their pollution will get flushed into the Missouri. In South Dakota the pubs would only be concerned about Yankton. Who cares about the three reservations and Vermillion with its liberal university. Then its just little Chicago all the way down to New Orleans. I know I’m forgetting the dunes but their just Iowans who live in So Dak for tax purposes right? You can let them be flooded out.

  5. 96Tears 2021-02-05 12:31

    Ryan Maher (elected to the Senate and then switched to R in an act of cowardice because he had no faith in his own abilities, despite being elected as a Democrat in a red district) is now betraying his alleged conservative credentials.

    Achieving LEED’s specifications means the state buildings will use less energy. A lot less. If the payback to the initial investment to achieve LEED pays for itself in several years, that means all the other years in the life of the building (assuming it lasts 50 years or more) will pay dividends to the South Dakota Treasury as long as the building stands.

    Kinda stupid of the drugstore cowboy to introduce a bill like that, huh? Do the energy companies need more taxes from South Dakotans in his district? Say what?!?

    Hopefully, some honest conservatives will straighten out the boy’s thinkin’. Or does everybody in the State Capitol have a thinkin’ problem this year?

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