Local control of water issues critical

A heartening show of democracy occurred at the Aug. 8 meeting of the West Dakota Water Development District board. The public’s wishes were followed, and the District will continue to fund two Black Hills stream gauges west of Rapid City that are operated by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The District board intended to save a few thousand dollars. But USGS representatives explained that their agency provides an unmatched level of expertise. USGS is the only source of real time stream flow data and, without it, flood warnings would be unavailable. One board member said he was concerned about state’s rights. This solution maintained state’s rights over our water while drawing on USGS expertise.

Yes, we need to maintain state control of our water, not just be controlled by distant federal agencies. The District board’s action is in sharp contrast to the state Legislature's bow to a uranium company in 2011, when we lost our state's right to regulate in-situ leach (ISL) uranium mining. When it comes to important issues that affect our water such as flooding and ISL uranium mining, let’s keep our rights. We need local involvement in stream monitoring and potential ISL uranium mines.

Gena Parkhurst

Rapid City

Noem's politically correct statement

I was dismayed and disturbed to see our elected officials’ tepid response to President Trump’s failure to quickly and unequivocally condemn the actions of the neo-Nazis and the KKK in Charlottesville.

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 Especially disheartening was Kristi Noem’s vague statement that immediately pivoted to party talking points — it could be summed up as her saying “violence bad, tax cuts good.” Coming from someone who is asking the people of South Dakota to elect her governor, the utter lack of leadership and courage being shown by Noem is especially disconcerting. It is almost as if she sat down with her team of political consultants and made a calculated decision to tap dance around the issue on the chance she may need the votes from that group in next year’s Republican primary.

We deserve better from our senators and representative.

Bob Wilson

Spearfish

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