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Monday, April 26, 2010

Legislature to Audit DENR -- Time to Discuss CAFO Enforcement

The South Dakota Legislature Executive Board decided last week not to authorize the usual rounds of summer studies. Total savings: $40K–$60K. These savings seem rather paltry compared to the revenue and budget savings legislators might have been able to come up with by studying our tax system and other issues affecting South Dakotans.

But not all summer work was axed. Two committees will conduct the normal audits of two state departments: the Bureau of Administration and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The DENR study should be of particular interest to my neighbors around Veblen and Big Stone Lake who have had to work hard to get the agency to take action against the pollution caused by the giant Veblen feedlots owned by Richard Millner. (With one dairy in receivership and the other in Chapter 11 proceedings, owned by may not be wholly accurate any more.)

The purpose of these audits is to determine to need for and effectiveness of state programs. I would recommend folks affected by the Veblen CAFOs and other sources of pollution in South Dakota keep an eye on the Legislature's summer meeting schedule and make plans to submit letters or even testify to the appropriate committee.

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