Lawmaker Against Hog Barn Permits

US - South Dakota Rep. Kathy Tyler of Big Stone City is angered by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ 12 April approval of a general water pollution control permit for a 6,500-sow hog barn in Grant County.
calendar icon 10 June 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

According to, the proposed facility has faced opposition, not only from Tyler but from other concerned citizens, almost from the day it started applying for permits to operate in Grant County. It received approval from the Grant County Planning and Zoning Board in January and approval from the DENR on 12 April.

Rep. Tyler’s complaints about the proposed hog barn center on four issues that popped up during the permitting process.

In an effort to draw attention to what she sees as serious problems in the DENR’s concentrated animal feeding operation permitting process, Rep. Tyler sent a letter to Gov. Dennis Daugaard on 25 May. The letter detailed her complaints and asked the governor to perform an in-depth study of the DENR’s regulations and complaint process.

Rep. Tyler, who lives within one mile of the site for the proposed hog barn, said the DENR’s process is outdated and too focused on the interests of business.

“The process is broken,” she said. “The S.D. DENR bends over backwards to get agriculture facilities in our state.”

The governor’s office responded Wednesday (5 June) with a letter of its own, defending the DENR’s permit process and saying a study of the agency wasn’t needed.

The letter sought to address Rep. Tyler’s concerns. One of the biggest was that the company seeking to build the hog barn, Teton Family Farms LLC, had used illegal contracts in part of its permit application for both the Grant County Planning and Zoning Board and the DENR.

Those contracts, which were for the use of animal waste from the hog barn on farm fields, contained incorrect information on who owned certain fields and the size of others.

According to Kent Woodmansey, who oversees CAFO permits for DENR, it is common for mistakes to be made on contracts in permit applications. He said DENR works with local and county officials to ensure that the information in the permit application is correct.

|If it isn’t," Mr Woodmansey said, "the application isn’t approved until the applicant supplies the correct information."

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