U.S. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) today commented on the passage of the omnibus appropriations bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 and applauded the inclusion of a number of important South Dakota provisions:
“I’m pleased the annual funding bill included a number of provisions important to South Dakota,” said Thune. “Two of these provisions continue the development of key state facilities, the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System and the Sanford Underground Research Facility. Several other provisions rein in burdensome regulations proposed by the Obama administration that would harm farmers, ranchers, hunters, and anglers in South Dakota. While imperfect, this legislation advances several South Dakota priorities that I look forward to continuing to work on in the 114th Congress.”
1) EPA Regulation of Ammunition and Fishing Tackle: The FY 2015 funding bill includes an important provision championed by Thune preventing the Obama EPA from regulating lead in ammunition and fishing tackle for one year. Thune introduced the Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act in the Senate with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) in September of 2013. The standalone legislation would permanently exclude ammunition and fishing tackle from regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act, leaving the oversight to the relevant state agencies, which currently regulate ammunition and fishing tackle.
2) Sage-Grouse Endangered Species Listing: The FY 2015 funding bill prevents the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from listing the sage-grouse on the endangered species list for at least the remainder of FY 2015. In 2011, the FWS reached a secret sue-and-settle agreement to require listing determinations on more than 250 species across the United States, including the sage-grouse. The sage-grouse listing would impact ranching, energy development, and other land uses in parts of western South Dakota, so securing this provision was an important win for West River ranchers in our state.
3) EPA Regulation of Methane Emissions: The FY 2015 funding bill delays the EPA regulation of livestock methane emissions under the Clean Air Act, which could require farmers and ranchers to purchase expensive greenhouse gas permits. Thune has championed provisions in previous funding bills prohibiting the EPA from creating a livestock emissions permitting system for one year at a time. While this is an important short-term success, a permanent ban is necessary to protect South Dakota producers.
4) Lewis and Clark Regional Water System: The FY 2015 funding bill includes $2.4 million specifically for Lewis and Clark and an additional $31 million for ongoing rural water projects which will be allocated by the Bureau of Reclamation. The Lewis and Clark Regional Water System will provide safe, reliable drinking water to over 300,000 individuals in South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota once completed.5) Sanford Underground Research Lab: The FY 2015 funding bill includes $15 million to continue research in the underground lab and $23 million to support superconducting radio frequency accelerator research, development, facilities, and infrastructure.