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South Dakota Urges Rollback of Corps' Water Supply Rule
South Dakota Ag Connection - 06/14/2018

Secretary Steve Pirner, head of the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, appeared in front of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management and Regulatory Oversight Wednesday to testify about the Corps of Engineers' attempt to charge for "surplus water."

At the invitation of Sen. Mike Rounds, chair of the subcommittee, Pirner spoke to the senators about the Water Supply Rule proposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The rule would eventually allow the Corps to sell water it deems to be surplus and would require certain users to obtain water storage contracts from the Corps in order to utilize water from Missouri River reservoirs.

Citing the 1944 Flood Control Act, the cabinet secretary questioned the Corps' ability to impose such a rule. "This creates a monumental change to the law and steals South Dakota's rights to natural flows that, by tradition and law, are under the jurisdiction of the states," he told the committee.

Pirner described the Missouri River as the largest, most reliable surface water supply in South Dakota and explained that the Corps seeks to control who can draw water from the Missouri River in South Dakota. That role historically, and legally, belongs to the state. The secretary closed by urging the committee to put a stop to the rule.

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