FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Monday, August 20, 2012
CONTACT: Sara Rabern, (605) 773-3215
Attorney General Marty Jackley Questions Corps of Engineers’ Decision to
Charge South Dakota for Its Own Water
PIERRE, S.D - Attorney General Marty Jackley reminds South Dakota citizens that on August 27, 2012, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ramkota Hotel, Pierre, the Corps of Engineers will conduct a public meeting to address the release and cost of surplus water on the Missouri River Reservoir System. The meeting will address the Corps’ plans to begin charging for stored water in the upper basin state reservoirs.
“Last summer, South Dakota experienced the flooding effect of a mismanaged Missouri River. To add insult to injury, the Corps is now proposing to exceed its congressional authority and charge South Dakotans for what has long been recognized as our own water,” stated Attorney General Jackley. “Should the Corps continue to disregard the state’s legal water rights, as Attorney General I will be placed in the position of seeking court intervention to protect South Dakota’s interests.”
A draft environmental assessment has been completed identifying baseline environmental conditions and analyzes potential impacts from the proposed use of surplus water. The draft Surplus Water Reports recommended an administrative law rule making process be used to establish a pricing methodology. The draft Surplus Water Reports and environmental assessments may be found at: http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/html/pd-p/Plan_Formulation/Review/review_plans.html
The Corps’ initial Surplus Water Reports raise several concerns for South Dakota. The natural flow of the Missouri River needs to be factored out of the study based upon state water rights and the state’s retained right to issue water permits from these flows. The draft study also unfairly targets a select group of upper basin users to the benefit of lower basin users. Finally, the Corps appears to be stretching and exceeding its congressional authority under the Flood Control Act of 1944.