“After much consideration on a short timeline, we have determined these federal dollars have numerous requirements that would ultimately take away the focus from the city’s current and planned sustainability efforts,” said Holly Meier, sustainability coordinator for the city of Sioux Falls, in a written statement.
That plan includes riparian buffers along the Big Sioux River watershed, electric vehicle implementation, and an LED street light conversion plan.
Environmental activists recently protested that plan outside of City Hall on Earth Day, pointing out that the latest draft shared on Feb. 23 walked back a number of its initially proclaimed goals.
Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said in an opinion piece for The Dakota Scout, “While it’s accurate that $4.6 billion in additional federal money is expected to eventually be available for implementation grants across the country, we have no guarantee of what we may receive due to the competitive federal grant process. This would prevent us from being able to adequately plan for ongoing projects and programs” [Joshua Haiar, “Sioux Falls, Like the State, Turns Down Climate Funding After Rapid City Applies,” South Dakota Searchlight, 2023.04.28].
Gee, Mayor Paul, what happened to the City of Hustle? Rapid City figures the $1M Pollution Reduction Planning Grant would fit right in to the sustainability work it’s already doing, without any unworkable strings or burden on its staff, and Rapid City has fewer people and resources than Sioux Falls at its disposal. TenHaken’s saying Sioux Falls can’t handle that grant makes South Dakota’s biggest city sound more like lazy Jackson County.
But we know Sioux Falls isn’t lazy. It’s just led by a Jesus-take-me climate foot-dragger who’s willing to resist sensible action to protect us from the havoc our fossil-fuel guzzling has wrought rather just to score political points with the folks who will help him run for his next office.