Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Koch group lobbying to end protection for South Dakota watersheds


There isn't a more egregious example of the stranglehold that "big money" has on our Congress and elected officials than this effort to build the Keystone pipeline. As I stated throughout my campaign for the United States Senate, this is all about greed -- billions of dollars of it every year. When the threat of climate change has 99 percent of the scientists in the world seriously worried about the future of the planet and the human race, this greed is inexcusable and needs to be exposed and rejected. We should be transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy, not doubling down on Keystone. [excerpt, Rick Weiland, Mitchell Daily Republic]
As a Wyoming-based pipeline company dumps more crude oil into the Yellowstone River in Montana, South Dakota struggles to clean up a century of ag runoff in the polluted Big Sioux River watershed. Nearly every waterway in South Dakota is impaired. With the help of former Senator Tim Johnson the US Department of Agriculture has pledged funding to clean up parts of the Big Sioux.

So-called 'Americans for Prosperity' a Koch-funded group with a lobbyist based in Sioux Falls signaled to legislators that they will lose campaign funding from the Kochs unless they act to reverse the progress the US Environmental Protection Agency has made in South Dakota.

South Dakota's GOP legislators and candidates have enjoyed millions in lobbyist benefits from the Kochs' contribution arm, the American Legislative Exchange Council; the state's junior senator was elected with cash from ALEC-backed National Federation of Independent Business.

The Kochs own Kansas and millions of acres of Canadian tar sands leases but the courts and voter participation can stop their efforts to run the climate-killing Keystone XL over private land using eminent domain.

South Dakota voters need to be alerted to these dark money efforts to end environmental protection in the state and the Democratic Party supports EPA's mission to protect South Dakota's waterways.

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