Tuesday morning at 10am CT/9am MT, Senate Ag & Natural Resources Committee will hear HB 1028, which severely reduces standing on the people’s right to contest water appropriation permits for projects that impact the public water.

By law, all water in the state belongs to the people of the state. We have the right to intervene in permit proceedings that would negatively impact this resource. This bill takes that away for all but the few who meet a narrow definition of “unique injury.”

What we LIKE about this bill:

  • The bill sets up a simple form, which would be available on the DENR website, for people to apply to contest a water appropriation permit
  • We also like that this bill provides for public comments (without officially intervening) on a project’s permit. We’ve seen folks send in comments and end up on an intervenor list. Parts of the bill could remedy that problem.

What we DON’T like about this bill:

  • Severely narrowing the definition of “public interest,” one of the four criteria the Water Rights Program uses to determine whether a project is permitted. (The other three are: unappropriated water available, no adverse impact to downflow users, project is a beneficial use of water.)
  • Severely narrowing the criteria by which the public may intervene to present evidence and ask questions in a hearing to someone who has a “unique injury”–a determination that could be so narrow as to exclude people and organizations who have a vested interest in protecting water for current and future generations.

Here are Senate Ag & Natural Resources contacts to ask to amend or kill HB 1028:

gary.cammack@sdlegislature.gov, herman.otten@sdlegislature.gov, joshua.klumb@sdlegislature.gov, julie.fryemueller@sdlegislature.gov, mary.duvall@sdlegislature.gov, troy.heinert@sdlegislature.gov, vj.smith@sdlegislature.gov

Intervening persons, organizations, and governmental entities have presented evidence leading to important conditions on water appropriation permits and greater protections for OUR PUBLIC WATER. The process isn’t perfect, but it IS effective.

Contact Senate Ag & Natural Resources Committee Members right now!

And, Thank YOU for Taking ACTION!