I live near Yankton and my drinking water comes from Lewis and Clark Reservoir. It has ever since nitrate runoff destroyed our Nebraska village well.
Now the reservoir is silting in and Iowa Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are seeking to move into South Dakota and add their toxic runoff to my water supply and perhaps yours.
You see, they’ve worn out their welcome by polluting water everywhere in Iowa, especially in the Des Moines watershed. That city is running out of water-treatment options and the citizenry has finally become aroused enough that there’s a near moratorium on new CAFOs in Iowa.
So, these operators have their expansion sights set on places like South Dakota and Wisconsin. I’ve lived continuously in northeast Nebraska and South Dakota since 1980, except for a time in Wisconsin.
While living in the dairy state, newspapers reported that an Iowa hog producer applied for a Wisconsin permit for a huge facility. When asked why, he replied, “ To get away from the Iowa hog diseases.” What he didn’t say was he would be bringing those same diseases to Wisconsin … Likewise for South Dakota.
Very contagious Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus (MERSA) is rampant in CAFO hogs and has spread to humans with very few treatment options for either. I learned this when I worked as a registered nurse, and I would be required to carefully gown, glove and mask while caring for these unfortunate patients who had little hope for recovery.
It disturbs me that South Dakota’s otherwise very sensible Gov. Noem has combined her state’s Department of Agriculture with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
It seems that when Wisconsin did similar combining, it led to local governments losing their ability to protect their water resources from well-financed, aggressive dairy CAFO operations, which subsequently drove most Wisconsin small family dairy farmers out of business.
It seems foolhardy that all but one Yankton County commissioner wants to proceed with Article Five without the proposed amendments that would protect local residents and their water from well-capitalized large operators who almost never choose to live near their own operations, for obvious reasons.
Perhaps the commissioners need to hear from you.