S.D. state lawmaker objects to hog barn

Farm Forum

BIG STONE CITY – A South Dakota lawmaker, who lives a mile from the site of a planned hog barn in Grant County, has questioned the state’s permitting process.

Rep. Kathy Tyler, D-Big Stone City, asked Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard for a study of the regulations and complaint process of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The department approved a water pollution control permit in April for the proposed 6,500-sow hog facility. Tyler contends the agency’s process is outdated and too focused on the interests of business, the Argus Leader newspaper reported.

”The process is broken,” Tyler said in a letter to the governor late last month. ”The S.D. DENR bends over backwards to get agriculture facilities in our state.”

The governor’s office responded with a letter of its own, defending the department’s permitting process and saying a study of the agency was not needed.

Tyler contends among other issues that permit applications to the county and state by Teton Family Farms LLC contained inaccurate information about contracts with area landowners for the disposal of animal waste on fields.

”The DENR let Teton get away with filing a fraudulent application,” Tyler said. Applications containing false information should be rejected outright, she said.

Kent Woodmansey, who oversees permits for large animal feeding operations for the department, said it is common for mistakes to be made in permit applications and that applications are not approved until problems are corrected.

”During our review process (of the proposed Grant County facility), we identified contracts that had incorrect information,” Woodmansey said. ”That’s why we review the information with the county.”

The proposed hog facility has faced opposition from Tyler and others concerned about possible pollution. A group called Grant County Concerned Citizens and Tyler’s husband, Timothy Tyler, have appealed to state court the county’s approval of the hog barn proposal in January. A hearing is scheduled June 25.