Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Stuefen leaves governor's economic post

Randy Stuefen is also a St. Mary's alumnus and was a senior when The Dakota Progressive was a freshman at Elkton High School.

As many young Elkton men did he went into the US Air Force after graduation during the Vietnam era then returned home to enroll at South Dakota State University on the GI Bill. In those days returning service members brought Sansui and Pioneer stereo equipment back to the States.

He turned me on to Mason Proffit, Commander Cody, Dr. Hook, Thai stick, Panama Red and Michoacán.

Around 1972 he and his brother, my boyhood friend Roger, left their folks' house and rented a space in the Hawrysh Apartments in Brookings. Roger dropped out of SDSU right after their mother died but Randy introduced me to Mark (Spiro) Speirs, Paul Anderson and Gary (Hairy) Ellingson when they lived in the Sugar Shack near downtown Brookings.

When Paul got married in the mid-80s Spiro, Art Young and i enlisted Spearditch pilot Mark Farrier to fly us to Madison but during our return flight a tornadic thunderstorm forced us to land at the Pierre Airport. By sheer coincidence as we were walking out to get something to eat Randy and his wife, Betty just happened to be driving by, took us to dinner and put us up for the night.

After graduate school Randy moved to Vermillion, joined the University of South Dakota faculty then developed a theory of South Dakota’s dual rural and urban economies. Last i saw Stuefen was at the Bay Leaf Cafe in Spearditch somewhere around 1997. He joined Denny Daugaard's Council of Economic Advisers in 2012 and was just succeeded by former SDSU president David Chicoine.

Is Linda Daugaard okay?

First Lady Linda Daugaard is not well.
In South Dakota, in 2015, just over nine percent of people were diagnosed with type two diabetes, with another thirty five percent in the pre-diabetes category. Avera Health Chief Medical Officer Dr Tad Jacobs says those rates have been rising. The states obesity rate is now just under thirty percent, up from eighteen percent in 2000. Obesity is directly related to the rate of diabetes. [WNAX]
Earth hater State Senator Brock Greenfield is recovering from an obesity-related surgery.

Jackley joins Fox, Balderas in EPA suit

South Dakota has joined twelve other mostly western states in a lawsuit against the Trump Organization's Environmental Prostitution Agency.

Six environmental groups sued EPA last month for failing to promote a rule that would have forced hard rock mines to meet federal financial bond rules passed during the Obama years. If EPA actually enforced federal bonding requirements federal rules could supersede state regulations.

Attorneys General Marty Jackley, Tim Fox of Montana and Hector Balderas of New Mexico have signed onto the suit.
Close to a decade ago EPA considered, by court order, establishing nationwide minimum bonding requirements for hard rock mining under Superfund law. That process was also due to a lawsuit brought against EPA in 2009 by environmental groups. The Sierra Club and the Idaho Conservation League and other environmental groups filed suit in federal court, challenging EPA’s decision not to establish national minimum bonding requirements. [Montana Standard]
On the heels of failures by mining companies like Brohm, Peabody and in the wake of the Gold King spill the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) issued a warning against the use of self-bonding. South Dakota has a significant stake in Peabody and wants to open the Gilt Edge Mine to another Canadian firm.
The Gilt Edge gold mine in the northern Black Hills closed in 1999. Among other problems the mine was polluted with contaminated water. The company’s bond was valued at about $8.2 million. Regulators also received another $9.8 million in settlement payments and interest. However the EPA reports that cleanup costs, likely in excess of $200 million, will be primarily funded through the EPA’s Superfund. [David Ganje]
Donald Trump wants to dismantle sanctions on self-bonding because they're a burden on his self-interests.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Sutton, Wismer hope to lift South Dakota from 'dark ages'

Democratic hopeful for South Dakota governor, Billie Sutton, has agreed with a fellow state legislator.
"We have to get out of the dark ages as it relates to transparency and accountability in government." [KSFY teevee]
Former South Dakota Democratic gubernatorial nominee Susan Wismer acknowledged the risk of earth haters holding supermajorities in the Legislature and has also warned the state is living in the "dark ages."
“Running as a woman carries a special responsibility,” Wismer said. “Because women assume that you are going to work in their interests. When I see a woman running for office who I feel is not working in the best interest of women, I get really disappointed. We can’t just use our position on the ballot as a woman to get elected, we have to use it to work for our families.” She recently won the Democratic primary for District 1’s Senate seat and is unopposed in the general election. [Watertown Public Opinion]
Wismer has called out Kristi Noem for being a spoiled brat.
But what really gets my goat is this whole “death tax” conspiracy. Rep. Kristi Noem's old family story is outdated, misleading, and abusive considering how the current law has evolved. I’m impressed that Sen. Rounds had the decency and bravery to say out loud that complete repeal of the tax is NOT smart policy. Once more…unless you are worth more than $5 million ($10 million if you’re married) ($20 million or more if you want to pass on an ACTIVE trade or business to family)…and have done ZERO planning, you won’t owe a penny in estate tax. [Facebook post]
Like Donald Trump Kristi IS a pathological liar. Only twenty GOP donors in South Dakota would benefit from the repeal of the estate tax.

Wismer is concerned Republicans have abandoned nursing homes and quality of education in small towns, too. South Dakota is graying fast and nursing beds represent economic development. The Janklow-owned Riverside Manor in Flandreau is overwhelmingly staffed by Filipinos and Filipinas as are most facilities for the elderly in South Dakota.

Democrats aren't going to return to my home state to be repressed, oppressed and depressed: South Dakota is doomed to be a shithole for Republicans forever.

The real story is that the conservative, christianist Libertarian Party nominee Kurt Evans will pull 6% of Republican voters and the Constitution Party nominee could pull 6% of Republican voters then Billie Sutton will win.

Thoughts? Prayers?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Daugaard digs disasters

It's like the christian god hates South Dakota.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration to help three northern South Dakota counties recover from spring flooding that did more than $3.1 million in damage to public property. Gov. Daugaard stated in his letter that the state has responded to seven previous Presidential Disaster Declarations since 2013. The Governor said the state still is working through the recovery process from four of those disasters with FEMA. [KELO]
Like wipin' yer ass with a hula hoop: it's endless.

South Dakota truly is a perpetual welfare state and a permanent disaster area. Daugaard and the state's entire earth hater congressional delegation just snubbed the Trump Organization's US Environmental Prostitution Agency administrator yet Denny has the balls to ask for a handout from a dictator.

In South Dakota conservative means fucking up the planet then billing the other guy for it. Evangelicals like Denny Daugaard don't believe the climate scientists warning humanity about rising oceans because scripture says their god won't flood the Earth like "He" did in Noah's time.

Your thoughts?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Trump Organization sandbagging environmental projects in Dakotas

Yesterday the earth hater-led US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing on oversight of the Army Corps’ regulation of surplus water and the role of states’ rights.

The City of Pierre has been denied access to surplus water from the Missouri River after a former Republican governor and the state sued the Corps for 2011 flooding. The suit forces We the People to pay for the clean up of a century of mine tailings and organic effluent that have saturated the banks of the Belle Fourche/Cheyenne River system depositing many tons of toxic silt into Lake Oahe and the other downstream dams after 1962. Sediment from decades of industrial agriculture would make up half of Lewis and Clark Lake's capacity by 2045 according the Corps.

More silt means less hydropower. In 2013 crews removed an estimated 34,000 cubic yards of toxic sediment accumulated over 45 years from a portion of the channel in front of the emergency spillway structure for Oahe Dam. That's remediation of surplus water and not simply greenwashing a century of abuses perpetrated by the extractive and agriculture industries.

Rivers often disperse the extra sediment from behind a dam within weeks or months of dam removal. Removal of the Fort Edward Dam on New York’s Hudson River released so much contaminated sediment that the river was later named a Superfund site. A similar fate would befall the Missouri River if dams were not dredged before being decertified; but, migratory fish would recolonize newly accessible habitat within a matter of days.

Last year a US District Court ordered the US Army Corps of Engineers to finish a review of the Dakota Excess pipeline's impact on tribal interests and how a spill under the Oahe Dam would impact water rights for the Standing Rock, Cheyenne, Yankton and Oglala Lakota nations.

Justice Department attorney Matthew Marinelli said in a status report to Judge James Boasberg the Corps has met with representatives of each tribe and has made progress on their concerns. Standing Rock still isn't satisfied and the Cheyenne River Tribe has created a website to raise funding and awareness for the dispossession of treaty land, natural resources and to provide information about the nation's battles against the Dakota Excess and Keystone XL Pipelines.

The Army Corps of Engineers have cancelled Spring Pulses on the Missouri River not because of low flows but because the silt is so poisonous it would kill the very species it says it's trying to preserve. Drawing down Lake Oahe means more bottom scouring that causes incidents like the Silvertip spill on the Yellowstone River during regional flooding in 2011.

As silt fills irrigation diversion dams lower quality water with higher salinity enters the system ultimately rendering soils incapable of supporting life. Displacing many acre-feet of water Lewis and Clark is over thirty percent full of toxic sediment. The Missouri Sedimentation Action Coalition is blaming the sand hills of Nebraska for the silt in Lewis and Clark Lake and is saying they might sell recovered sediment as fracking sand to the oilfields of North Dakota to pump more oil for the Dakota Excess pipeline. Snow and rainwater capture provide much higher quality water for irrigation likely making the beleaguered Lewis and Clark boondoggle obsolete before it's finished or even fully funded.

A lawyer for the Corps said they will "finish its consideration and analysis of the information submitted by the tribes and consider issues identified at the meetings with the tribes" by 10 August.

In a related story, South Dakota's entire earth hater congressional delegation and its lame duck, climate science-denying governor snubbed denatured US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt during his visit to the state.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Cannabis-curious Lower Brule endorse Randy Seiler

The Kul Wicasa Oyate could be the next tribe trapped inside South Dakota to legalize cannabis.
Vice-Chairman Kevin Wright says it's a matter that's crossed the minds of members in the community. “What I gathered from a small group of people is that they want it legalized and they're asking us what we're going to do about it,” said Wright. [KDLT teevee]
The Lower Brule Nation has off-reservation property in Fort Pierre where Randy Seiler lives and they could test their sovereignty.

Tribes are the 51st State to the US Environmental Protection Agency. It just awarded the Lower Brule $200,000 to clean up contamination in their community.

Standing Rock, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and the Oglala Lakota Nation are also mulling cannabis projects.

Black market cannabis not tested or subject to inspection makes America and South Dakota less safe. Legalizing and regulating a product that so many people enjoy is reasonable public policy aligned with life/safety concerns. Lower Brule has struggled with synthetic marijuana.

If nominated by the South Dakota Democrats Seiler will be a strong contender against whomever the earth haters pick especially if the Constitution Party names a candidate to siphon conservative support in November.

Legislators and other stakeholders should use my model as a roadmap to legalization.

Trump plan bolsters Rapid City-based earth hater

Black Hills Energy and the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission lubricate each other regularly and after priming the election pumps, the firm achieves multiple happy endings at the hands of Chris Nelson, Chairman Gary Hanson and Kristie Fiegen.

Black Hills Energy is just one of many companies based in South Dakota because of the state's regressive tax structure.
Black Hills Energy, of Rapid City, S.D., is preparing to build a 35-mile, $54 million natural gas pipeline in Converse County, east-central Wyoming. The Natural Bridge Pipeline will begin at the Wyoming Interstate Co. compressor station interconnect in east Douglas, Wyo. From there, it will track west, terminating at Black Hills Energy’s facilities in Casper, Wyo. Black Hills hopes to break ground on the project in April 2019, and have the pipeline operational that winter. [Kallenish Energy]
Wyoming receives nearly half of all federal mineral receipts.

According to a 41-page memo acquired by Bloomberg News the Trump Organization is planning to buy electricity from coal and nuclear plants that were planning to retire.
Travis Deti, head of the Wyoming Mining Association, said he doesn’t see this as a bailout, but as government intervention. And he doesn’t like that. He said it’s the kind of tactic that’s propped up renewable and natural gas. "I would prefer to see the government back off and prefer to see them back off where they’ve been so influential,” Deti said. [Wyoming Public Media]
During a public hearing Fall River County Commissioners took advantage of an Obama-era initiative and approved a 700-acre parcel in the Minnekahta Valley between Hot Springs and Edgemont paving the way for a new utility scale solar energy project. Korea-based Hanwa Group is expected to begin construction soon.
With a capacity of 40 MW, the company has already put into place power purchases with Black Hills Energy for delivery in 2018 and 2019, generating enough power for 45,000 homes – assuming 200kWHS per month. [Rapid City Journal]
Regulators and market forces in Colorado are driving Black Hills Energy from coal-fired electricity generation yet the firm remains focused on its substantial oil and natural gas holdings in the Mancos Shale within the San Juan and Piceance basins. The firm is bankrolling water diversions, too. The power oligopoly just moved into a $70 million facility in Rapid City financed mainly on the backs of subscribers without choices.

The South Dakota Republican Party owns the state's public utilities commission so this is how red states finance infrastructure improvements while bitching about Big Government.