South Dakota Is Party To Multiple Lawsuits Against The EPA

Dec 17, 2015

The Big Sioux River in eastern South Dakota.
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota is now suing the EPA over implementation of the Clean Water Act.    

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says  federal officials are overstepping their authority in regulating how South Dakota uses its water.

This is one in a number of multi state lawsuits the state has currently signed on against the EPA.

Most recently,  South Dakota joined a 22 state bipartisan lawsuit over the EPA’s implementation of the Clean Water Act.  Jackley says the EPA is attempting to use the Clean Water Act in a way that threatens state sovereignty and local economies.

 “The EPA has been overstepping the authority that congress has granted it in the Clean Water Act at really the cost of state decision making.  It’s taking the power and control of our water away from us," says Jackley

Officials with the EPA refused to comment on tape.  But court documents show the EPA wants to reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment in waterways.  Feedlots and chemical fertilizers can lead to an increase in these contaminants.   Federal officials consider high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous pollution and say they have the authority to protect major fisheries like the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.  

  The Attorney General’s office is also involved in separate litigation against the EPA over parts of the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Air Act, plus a lawsuit against the Waters of the United States Act.  

The Attorney General’s office says it’s difficult to estimate the economic losses to industry in the state if federal regulators win each of these cases.  State officials also say they don’t know how much pursuing these  cases will cost state government.