URGENT Message from Dakota Rural Action: DENR Moves to Restrict Standing to Contest Water Permits!
Over the past several years, DRA and its members, as well as other organizations, individuals, and even Tribal governments, have petitioned to intervene in water permit proceedings where the projects under consideration stand to have severe negative impacts on our land, water, and communities. Those projects have included the Keystone XL pipeline, Powertech’s proposed Dewey-Burdock in-situ leach uranium mine, and (currently) Mineral Mountain Resources proposed gold mining operation near Rochford and the Lakota sacred site of PeSla in the Black Hills.
Rather than welcoming citizen input and participation in the process, the DENR is now seeking to severely limit that participation by filing HB 1028, which would impose strict criteria for standing involving specific, personal injury “unique from any injury suffered by the public in general” and requiring that the specific personal injury concerns a matter outlined in specific sections of code, AND that the format for petition be a form provided by the Chief Engineer. Additionally, the bill seeks to limit the scope of “public interest” when it comes to approving or denying water permits.
These criteria are clearly meant to shut out from the public process citizens who have serious concerns about threats to our public water as well as potentially diminishing standing of organizational and government entities whose members will be adversely impacted.
The bill has been assigned to the House Ag & Natural Resources Committee, though not yet scheduled. You can find the names of those committee members and their contact information HERE.
Call or email YOUR legislators to let them know you oppose this legislation. If you don’t know who your current legislators are, you can find them easily, along with their contact info here (sdlegislature.gov/Legislators/Find)
For more information on this and other “Fast Tracking” legislation please visit Dakota Rural Action – Weekly Legislative Update