Senator M. Michael Rounds wants the ag-industrial complex to determine whether or not the land they want to tile, plow, and monetize qualifies as wetlands, not the Natural Resources Conservation Service, thus giving farmers the chance to continue qualifying for socialist handouts even as they destroy the prairie’s ecological diversity.
Julie Sibbing is the associate vice president for land stewardship with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). She compared the proposed state-level committees made up of landowners to “the fox guarding the henhouse.”
“You would take the highly scientific process of identifying what a wetland is and turn it over to farmers to help their friends,” Sibbing said [Joshua Haiar, “Wildlife Group Calls Rounds’s Wetlands Bill ‘Egregious’, But Some Farmers Say It’s Overdue,” South Dakota Searchlight, 2022.10.26].
Rounds defends his corporate capture of environmental regulation with more ag mythmaking:
Rounds disagrees. He sees farmers and ranchers as stewards of the land they own.
“And so to somehow suggest that the folks that live on the land would do stuff to destroy their land, I think, is wrong,” Rounds said [Haiar, 2022.10.26].
But we’re not talking about hardy individual farmers living on their land. We’re talking about corporate overlords converting the land and its natural diversity into an efficient monocultural hellscape with no inconvenient wetlands. An actual farmer agrees:
Ryan Roehr farms in the northeastern Prairie Pothole region of the state. He said wetland oversight is already too lax, and the proposed bill would make things worse.
“People are already draining wetlands illegally, they’re just not getting caught,” he said. “I think this bill is a big push from the chemical companies, the seed companies and the drain-tile companies to get more business” [Haiar, 2022.10.26].
Rounds’s bill shouldn’t go anywhere as long as President Biden hangs onto his veto pen. But the Alito Court may strip the EPA of its ability to protect our wetlands under the Clean Water Act.
It seems that, one way or another, Rounds and his party are determined to drain our Prairie Potholes.