Monday, February 10, 2014

Item # 3, , Deadlines and Events that recycle


This section is sometimes somewhat redundant with earlier section


1. Past Events & Deadlines - THAT RECYCLE

Next  a chronological list of events and deadlines that will recycle each year.,





Christmas Bird Counts, Dec-Jan
The CBC occurs in later half of Dec and first week of January every year
PHAS will post a list of CBCs in SD and
 locations in other states near borders of Western SD



 SD Legislature will start in early January, 2017

How to contact legislators
If  you scroll down to PHAS January archives for 2014 you will find some info on contacting the legislature and which environmental 
groups lobby and send alerts, that may still be of use. 
Please note we had an election in 2014 and the list of SD legislators will have changed. 

These links to bill tracking services are refreshed 2015 links 

SD Legislative Research Council has lots and lots of info, functions and links:

link to SD Game Fish & Parks (GFP)  bill tracking list/service 2015 is 

link to get SD Department of Environment & Natural Resource's  (DENR) bill tracking list/service 2015 is

link to SD Wildlife Federation's Camo-Coalition bill tracking service 2015

Dakota Rural Action's bill tracker 2015

Dakota Rural Action's legislative blog

SD Division of the Izaak Walton League ( contact: Paul Lepisto <PLepisto (at)>) 
and SD Chapter of the Sierra Club (contact: Dana Loseke <dana.loseke (at)>)
 also follow the legislature and engage in bill tracking, contact leaders if you want more info on their efforts on bills
they follow.
We shelter e-mail addresses by replacing @ with (at) 


PHAS will post a list of cracker barrels in the state after the legislature starts

Cracker Barrel in Piedmont, SD, February
Every year Prairie Hills Audubon Society is the co-sponsor of a cracker barrel in Piedmont SD.
This normally occurs on the 2nd Saturday of February, in the afternoon at the Piedmont Legion Hall.


likely a Thursday,  in early March likely at the Outdoor West Campus in Rapid City. 
 Black Hills Area Botany and Ecology Workshop 
 A free, no-registration-required, all-day event open to all involved and interested
 in the management of natural resources in the Black Hills and surrounding plains area.  



 Western South Dakota Hydrology Meeting 
likely will be held in Rapid City at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center , likely in April .
Meeting Web site 


Weekend in early May
Prairie Hills Audubon Society hosts a field trip to La Creek National Wildlife Refuge

An Early Weekend in May is normally the West River Migration Count

2nd Saturday in May,
This is normally the weekend Ideawild has it's auction event in Rapid City, SD
normally at the Journey, Museum

A weekend in later half of May is normally the SDOU spring meeting 

3rd Friday in May
Endangered Species Day,
PHAS and other groups normally have a meeting on Friday eve.

Annual Bat Festival by SD Bat Working Group


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

2014 Recently expired comment periods



These comment periods have passed, but following links to public documents
may educate you about issues in SD 
March 17th, 2015 Deadline Northern Long Eared Bat Comment Period

Below are excerpts from this USFWS web page

The USFW Service proposed to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the ESA in October 2013 and is due to make a final decision by April 2, 2015. The Service’s options include listing the species as endangered; listing as threatened; listing as threatened with a 4(d) rule; and withdrawing the proposal to list.

“While we originally proposed the northern long-eared bat as endangered, the ongoing scientific review of threats to the species could possibly lead to a final listing determination of threatened rather than endangered,” Melius added. “Although a final listing decision has not yet been made, we believe we can best serve the American people by proposing and seeking comment on a potential 4(d) rule now, so if we determine listing as threatened with a 4(d) rule is appropriate, the rule can be implemented immediately.” 

For areas of the country affected by white-nose syndrome, the measures provided in the proposed 4(d) rule exempt take from forest management practices, maintenance and limited expansion of transportation and utility rights-of-way, removal of trees and brush to maintain prairie habitat, and limited tree removal projects, provided these activities protect known maternity roosts and hibernacula. The proposed 4(d) rule also exempts take as a result of removal of hazardous trees, removal of northern long-eared bats from human dwellings, and research-related activities. These measures are designed to protect northern long-eared bats when they are most vulnerable, including when they occupy hibernacula and during the two-month pup-rearing season from June through July. The greatest potential restrictions would be during these months, with reduced restrictions at all other times. 

For more information about the northern long-eared bat, the proposal to list and the proposed 4(d) rule, go to: and

"We [USFWS] will accept comments received or postmarked on or before
March 17, 2015. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES, below) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date."

You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
  1. Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: In the Search box, enter Docket No. FWS–R5–ES–2011–0024. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!'' Please ensure you have found the correct rulemaking before submitting your comment. 
  2. By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R5–ES–2011–0024; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, Va. 22041-3803. 

Center for Biological Diversity (CBD)  on petition

Thanks to CBD for all their good work -- the petition to list was submitted by Mollie Matteson,
 Center for Biological Diversity, 
P.O. Box 188 Richmond, VT ph. (802) 434.2388 fax (802) 329.2075 mmatteson (at)

CBD criticism of latest listing proposal

Link to the CBD  petition to list NLEB:

Testimony of Mollie:

Other writings of CBD


Earlier alert on Proposed listing of northern long eared bat as endangered

Northern Long eared bat is a bat common in the Black Hills of SD. it likes humid caves in winter and roost in trees in the summer.

The bat is threatened by white-nose syndrome, an introduced fungal disease which is moving across country from east; it is now in Missouri and maybe Minnesota. The eastern edge of Wyoming and Montana is the far west side of bat's range. Population declines of more than 90 percent have happened in the core of its range, with more declines predicted due to WNS, this constitutes a present “danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” The decreases do not represent a mere “[likelihood] to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” In other words, for the northern long-eared bat, endangerment is not just a possibility on the horizon – endangerment is already here.

This listing will be very significant to the Black Hills, as bat is common in the Black Hills. Please write in support of listing as endangered.

Range of bat:

Central USFWS page on the bat:

On reopening of comment period:

USFWS proposal to list species Oct 2013

USFWS Fact sheet on Bat:

On listing proposal process for Bat


SD Wildlife Action Plan Revision Available for Review

 South Dakota’s draft plan revision provides a habitat-based framework to help prevent future endangered species listings and keep common species common. The draft plan also includes descriptions and identified needs for species of conservation concern as well as challenges and actions related to fish and wildlife species and habitats.A state plan is required in return for State Wildlife Grant funds, which provide a federal match to state wildlife agencies to focus on the needs of species that may be rare or unstudied. The first version was prepared in 2005 

 Powder River Training Complex
T Powder River Training Complex (PRTC) military operating area (MOA) over the northern Great Plains 
The PRTC would expand to an area roughly the size of South Carolina (approximately 28,000 square miles-see map). It would include airspace over four states, with high and low complexes ranging from 500 feet AGL to FL 180. The complex is designed to facilitate low-level, high-speed combat training for B-1 and B-52 crews operating out of Ellsworth and Minot Air Force bases, and is scheduled to be active 240 days per year, including 10 days of Large Force Exercises. The Air Force completed an environmental impact study for the expanded MOA in 2010, and the FAA released its airspace study in February 2014, which is the final step before the MOA gets accepted and charted.

For more information, please see the Air Force's website on the PRTC or call EAA's advocacy and safety office at (920) 426-6522.

Rare Element Resources proposes to create a 232-acre open pit mine at Bull Hill on Forest Service (FS) land 6 air miles north of Sundance, Wyoming.  Ore will be crushed and concentrated at a facility on FS land.  A Hydromet Plant (chemical processing for crushed & concentrated rare earth mineral ore) is proposed to be at Upton, Wyoming, on private land next to the railroad.  Some existing roads will be closed, some upgraded, and some new roads built.  Mineral exploration will continue for 43 years. 

As the mine will be on FS land, an Environmental Impact Statement must be written. 

Written Scoping Comments were due April 30, 2014
To send late scoping  comments on what issues & concerns you want the EIS to analyze to:
   Bear Lodge Project EIS, C/O JeanetteTimm, Project Coordinator, Bear Lodge Ranger District    
   BHNF, P.O. Box 680, Sundance, Wyoming, 82729-0680
Send electronic comments to -
For info: contact Jeanette: - 307-283-1361.

Some Rare Earth Links For Bearlodge  Project

Link to download Forest Service information on Project and Scoping:
Go to this link and click on Bear Lodge Project,

Rare Element Resources (mining company) web page:

Some links to learn more about Rare Earth & Other Mining:

Guidebook for Evaluating Mining Project EIAs:

Study of Rare Earths and their Recycling:

Slide Presentation on “Rare Earth Elements: A Review of Production, Processing, Recycling, and Associated Environmental Issues”

Rare Earth Elements: A Review of Production, Processing, Recycling, and Associated Environmental Issues:  

USGS Fact Sheet - Rare Earth Elements—Critical Resources for High Technology

USGS Rare Earth Elements—End Use and Recyclability:

"NECHALACHO RARE EARTH ELEMENT PROJECT EFFLUENT QUALITY CRITERIA REPORT," December 2013 report provides baseline data and effluent quality criteria for rare earths associated with the deposit addressed near Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada.

"Maximum Permissible Concentration and Negligible Concentrations for Rare Earth Elements" from the year 2000: 



SDGFP link to Sage Grouse Draft Management Plan notice and proposal
The deadline for providing comments has passed.
 To view the draft management plan, please visit:


Comment  deadline expired on proposed amendments about Greater Sage Grouse management
 in diverse federal properties in Wyoming, including those that border SD - 
Link to BLM/FS DEIS on sage grouse for Newcastle BLM and Thunderbasin NG,

USFWS Reopened Comment Period on Wolf Proposal
Independent scientific peer review report available for public review
Comment deadline expired -
Following receipt of an independent scientific peer review, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reopened the comment period on its proposal to list the Mexican wolf as an endangered subspecies and remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List.
The peer review report is available online, and comprehensive links relating to the proposal, at    Comments and materials USFWS receives, as well as some of the supporting documentation used in preparing this proposed rule, are available for public inspection at under the docket number FWS–HQ–ES–2013–0073. The Service will post all comments on

Sheyenne Grasslands in North Dakota - This is only remnant tall grass prairie in federal ownership. Because tall grass prairie  was so productive and easily converted to agricultural use,  it is now one of the most endangered habitat types in the world.  The Sheyenne National Grasslands, home to more that 40 sensitive plant and animal species,  holds the bulk of remaining native tall grass prairie in the state. The Sheyenne National Grasslands located in Ransom and Richland counties contains the  largest population of the greater prairie chicken in North Dakota.This grassland is located in SE ND and not that far from NE SD. The birds have no clue where state boundaries are.

On  page 3-81of EA the FS writes:
   "The following listed or Candidate species may occur in the Project area: black-footed ferret, gray wolf, whooping crane, interior least tern, pallid sturgeon, piping plover and designated critical habitat, Dakota skipper, poweshiek skipperling, Sprague’s pipit, and greater sage-grouse (Table 3-43). As of October 24, 2013, the Federal Register proposed to list Dakota skipper as threatened and Poweshiek skipperling as endangered and also proposed designation of critical habitat for these species (USDI Fish and Wildlife Service 2013). " 

To download document & learn more about this area:


Various Bills -2014

Various  bills (2014) of concern will be added here

Remember to scroll down to archives for directions on how to contact Legislators
Access to non-meandered waters & mountain lion bills are in their own sections

Please Oppose HB 1083 (dead bill)

This bill, if it had passed, would have restricted conservation easements to 99 years instead of the current option of a perpetual (forever) easement. Conservation easements are a voluntary action a landowner can take to protect grassland or wetland habitat on their land.  This bill has come up numerous times in recent years and it has always been defeated.  Last year an attempt to restrict the length of conservation easements was killed in committee, but this year it was killed on the House Floor. A version of this bill endlessly recycles in most years, - see vote below and remember it, as this will likely endlessly recycle and need to be killed again and again.

It was amended & passed House Ag and Natural Resources Committee Thursday morning (2/6) with split vote.  It went  to a floor vote 
- for committee vote roll call:
 - for update on status
for copy of bill in current form:

A nay vote is the pro-conservation vote - House vote: Yeas 17, Nays 51, Excused 2, Absent 0

   Yeas: Bolin; Cammack; Ecklund; Greenfield; Hickey; Kaiser; Kopp; Latterell; May; Nelson; Olson (Betty); Qualm; Russell; Schaefer; Steele; Verchio; Wink
   Nays: Anderson; Bartling; Campbell; Carson; Conzet; Cronin; Dryden; Duvall; Erickson; Feickert; Feinstein; Gibson; Haggar (Don); Haggar (Jenna); Hajek; Hawks; Hawley; Heinemann (Leslie); Heinert; Hoffman; Hunhoff (Bernie); Johns; Killer; Kirschman; Langer; Lust; Magstadt; Mickelson; Munsterman; Novstrup (David); Otten (Herman); Parsley; Rasmussen; Ring; Romkema; Rounds; Rozum; Schoenfish; Schrempp; Sly; Soli; Solum; Stalzer; Stevens; Tulson; Tyler; Werner; Westra; Wick; Wismer; Speaker Gosch
 Excused: Craig; Peterson

Please Support House Bill 1193  (dead bill)

This bill, if passed, would have  protected the aquifers beneath proposed in situ uranium mining sites. 
But was killed in House Agriculture & Natural Resources. To see the vote (a nay vote is pro-water)

This bill would have done three things:
  1. Requires any company asking for a permit for in situ leach uranium mining to prove that the subsurface geology at the mine sites is structured so that it will prevent water from migrating from aquifer to aquifer, so if one aquifer becomes polluted, it cannot contaminate the remaining aquifers.
  2. Requires any company asking for a water permit for in situ leach uranium mining to prove they can restore water to baseline (which is defined in the bill) and to include their water restoration schedule with their permit.
  3. Requires any company asking for a water permit for in situ leach uranium mining to demonstrate the technology they will use to clean up the water – it can’t be just theoretical, they actually have to PROVE IT.

A violation of any of these provisions would be subject to criminal penalties and a $10,000 per day fine.

DRA has a pod cast on this

Please support HB 1254 - Renewable energy, distributed generation (dead)

It would encourage the development of small-scale renewable electrical generation by requiring energy utilities to buy excess .energy from individuals or other non-commercial customers who  generate 150 kilowatts or less of renewable electricity (solar, wind, 

geothermal or biomass) and supply their excess back to the grid. The  utility would pay the small generator 70 percent of the utility's per 

kilowatt retail price. Referred to Ag and Natural Resources, It was killed on Tues.  2/18, 10  to 4.
 The nay vote is the pro-renewable energy vote

Committee results  not yet posted (as of Wednesday morn.)

DRA has a Podcast on this is at

Please oppose SB 162- taxes on precious metal mining (alive or dead?))

This bill is on the Senate floor on Wednesday 2/19/14 and high up on agenda.
This bill passed on the first day and was returned for reconsideration on next day 2/21 & failed, thus we believe it is dead.

SB 162 was written to repeal the state's 4 percent mineral severance tax. This  bill is introduced to benefit Wharf Resources, which is currently
strip mining gold at the base of Terry Peak and hopes to also mine  just beyond the rim of Spearfish Canyon. South Dakota has no
corporate income tax, so this is the only revenue the state gets for  allowing this foreign company to remove our resources. Why should we
permit continued destruction in the Black Hills and not even tax the profits from our resources? This passed out of Committee 2/12/14, but was amended -- 
 to cut the severance tax on gold in half, to $2 per oz., and to reduce the net profit tax (as defined by Wharf's tax lawyers) from 10% to 8%.  The amended bill passed the Senate Taxation Committee 4-3.

Both the bill and the amendment were written and presented by life-time lobbyist Larry Mann of Wharf Resources, the foreign company conducting cyanide heap leach mining at the base of Terry Peak. The present tax law was written in 1984 when gold sold for under $400 per oz. In 2013 gold sold for almost $1,700 per oz. and the current price is almost $1,300 per oz. Yet Wharf's lobbyist claims the corporation needs tax relief! If Wharf's profit has declined, it is because they have mined all the rich ore and are currently blasting, pulverizing and leaching 50 tons of Black Hills mountain to get each ounce of a luxury hedge for global investors. The SD Department of Revenue testified that this bill would cost the state general fund $560,000 per year, which would require further cuts to state programs.

Folks interested in this bill should get on The Sierra Club's mailing list. Their lobbyist is following it  --thanks to them for keeping us informed  To get on their mailing list -- contact vikki fix <>

SB 46  - Felony Animal Cruelty bill proposed -  Support bill (alive-final unless vetoed)

SD may become the last state in the nation to adopt a felony cruelty law for worst cruelty to animals. Short article about it.
To view bill:

This was amended and passed out of  Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources with unanimous vote , it was  on Senate Calendar  for  Thursday 2/12/14 & passed with unanimous vote,  It passed out of House Judiciary and the House floor,

House vote
Judiciary Committee Vote

HB 1172 - Open Government for Legislature (Dead) 

 An Act to require when there is a majority  (quorum) of legislators (House or Senate)  gathered discussing legislation, the public should have a right to hear what is being discussed and decided about their legislation. Why this bill? Republicans have substantial majority & have closed caucuses.  Committee members may  meet & decide how to vote before hearing on bill.
To visit bill & status 

This bill was killed in State Affairs 3 to 9  To see vote (a nay vote is vote for open government) :.

The Constitution of South Dakota says: " § 15. Open legislative sessions--Exception. The sessions of each house and of the committee of the whole shall be open, unless when the business is such as ought to be kept secret." The SD GOP platform says: "5.13 The South Dakota Republican Party believes the free flow of information empowers and energizes a republic and serves to keep the process of government honest and robust."

HB 1154 - Easements Across State School Lands - (Alive-final unless vetoed) 

An Act to authorize the commissioner of school and public lands to grant certain surface and subsurface easements to provide access to oil, gas, minerals, and geothermal resources.

This bill passed both house and senate

To view the bill

We were originally concerned about impacts from this bill, but have been told it will only allow slant drilling from State School Public Lands to third party property.