South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson has the look of someone who got stuck in front of the person yelling “Don’t go in there! The killer is in there!” at the movie screen.
South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson has the look of someone who got stuck in front of the person yelling “Don’t go in there! The killer is in there!” at the movie screen.
In reference to today’s vote in the State House on a pair of bills attacking pipeline projects that South Dakota ethanol producers are trying to take part in to be competitive on a world stage for biofuel production, there is a parallel battle taking place in Iowa. As covered by the Iowa Capital Dispatch, the Director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association has some poignant commentary asking legislators in his own state whether they want to actually ethanol production in their state:
“I honestly don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that capturing and sequestering carbon will be life or death for most ethanol plants over the next five years,” Monte Shaw said at the organization’s annual summit in Des Moines.
Shaw argued that the proposed legislation unfairly targets one type of infrastructure project.
“If you are an Iowa legislator and you honestly believe our current laws don’t provide enough landowner protections, that’s your right,” Shaw said. “But if you support legislation that singles out (carbon dioxide) or liquid fuel pipelines instead of applying new standards to all eminent domain requests, then I politely suggest you’re not really interested in property rights.”
Opponents of the pipelines have objected to the projects over safety concerns, landowners’ rights and damage to farmland. Some environmentalists also argue that increasing the long-term viability of ethanol by reducing its carbon intensity will merely prolong its use at a time when the nation is transitioning toward electric vehicles.
South Dakotans proudly point to it as being one of the most business friendly climates in the nation.. except when legislators choose not to be, and are debating whether to change the rules in the middle of the process. All the state would be doing with passing this legislation is sending a message that pipelines and major energy projects are not welcome in the state. If the goal is to create more business regulation and a system where the legislature picks the winners, the only message it sends is that we want to be more like California.
As was noted to legislators and media in the tours that the ethanol producers gave of their production plants this last summer, without this project, South Dakota producers cannot sell to the largest ethanol markets in the US, as they are demanding carbon neutrality. And the state’s homegrown energy production will be strangled by the competition in other states who can sequester carbon. If South Dakota ethanol production plants are able to participate, plants could grow and expand and support farmers even more.
As a state, aren’t we supposed to be about a level playing field, and creating opportunities?
Good question for House members to ask themselves. There will be a test this afternoon.
Thune Responds to President Biden’s State of the Union Address
“Thankfully, with a new Republican majority in the House of Representatives, Congress can now block the worst impulses of the Biden administration and its far-left allies.”
Click here or on the picture above to watch the video.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) issued the following statement after President Biden delivered his State of the Union address:
“In the last two years, Democrats used their total control of Washington to pursue a partisan agenda that sharply increased costs on families, weakened our energy independence, and undermined our national security at the southern border and abroad. Thankfully, with a new Republican majority in the House of Representatives, Congress can now block the worst impulses of the Biden administration and its far-left allies.
“The reality of divided government means that compromise will be required in order to address the many challenges facing our country. I’m optimistic that members of both parties can come together to bolster our energy security, create new opportunities for farmers and ranchers, increase transparency and accountability in big tech, and prioritize our most important responsibility: the safety and security of the American people.
“To achieve these goals, congressional Republicans are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work. We hope President Biden will join us.”
With two of the anti-ethanol measures up on the House floor tomorrow, a letter has gone out to legislators tonight from the CEO of the world’s largest association of biofuel producers, reaching out to them in an e-mail urging them to go on the record tomorrow and to not act punitively to change the rules in the middle of the regulatory process on the state’s ethanol pipeline projects. The letter also notes that the benefits that the pipelines will provide to the state in terms of jobs and economic development.
From: Emily Skor
Sent: Tuesday, February 7, 2023 9:18:12 PM
Subject: Support South Dakota’s Economy
Members of the South Dakota Legislature,
Thank you for your work to grow South Dakota’s economy. My name is Emily Skor and I serve as CEO of Growth Energy. Growth Energy is the world’s largest association of biofuel producers representing 90 U.S. plants that produce nearly nine billion gallons of cleaner-burning, renewable fuel annually; 106 businesses associated with the production process; and tens of thousands of biofuel supporters across the country. Our ultimate objective is to work together to bring better and more affordable choices at the fuel pump, improve air quality, and protect the environment for future generations.
I am writing to you today to respectfully ask for your support of Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) projects in the state. These projects are vital to the long-term competitiveness of our industry in the carbon economy and CO2 has the potential to be just as valuable of a commodity of ethanol production as any of the co-products that come from our facilities. South Dakota’s ethanol industry supports thousands of jobs, generates hundreds of millions of dollars for our economy, and, critically, purchases approximately 60 percent of the corn grown in the state. Bioprocessing facilities have long been pioneers in carbon capture technology, providing pure streams of clean CO2 for use by a range of industries and for multiple purposes, including for food, beverages, and dry ice. CCUS systems will be an important tool for many bioprocessing facilities allowing them to cut their carbon intensity by half, driving significantly more value for their product and making them more competitive. The biofuel industry, farmers, and rural communities are inextricably linked, and these projects will help the entire supply chain compete in a low-carbon economy. With better transport and storage infrastructure, ethanol plants can connect to a larger network of CCUS systems to get CO2 where it is needed.
Ultimately, low-carbon biofuels coupled with CCUS will create thousands of high-quality clean energy jobs across the supply chain, in rural America and throughout the country, while helping us meet our climate targets as quickly as possible. We hope that you will support our industry’s ability to thrive and support the state’s vibrant ag economy by carefully considering the unintended consequences of any legislation and allowing important CCUS projects the opportunity to add more value to the great state of South Dakota.
We hope that you will help keep South Dakota’s ethanol industry competitive and maintain its reputation as a state that welcomes business investment.
Emily Skor | CEO
701 8th St NW Suite 450
Washington DC 20001
Governor Noem Appoints Steve Perkins to Board of Education Standards
PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Governor Kristi Noem announced that she will appoint Steven (Steve) Perkins to the South Dakota Board of Education Standards, effective immediately. He will take the seat previously occupied by Becky Guffin.
“Steve has grandkids of his own, and he realizes that their future is of the utmost importance,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “He will always put the future of our next generation first in his approach to the Board of Education Standards, and that is why he is a great pick for this role.”
Steve has spent years in business, including as the Principal of Perkins Consulting in Sioux Falls since 2006; the Secretary and Treasurer of New Horizon Farms in Pipestone, MN from 1997 to 2006; and the President and CEO of Ellison Meat Co. in Pipestone from 1997 to 2001. Prior to his career in business, Steve served as City Administrator for Red Wing, MN from 1992 to 1997; as the City Administrator for Luverne, MN from 1986 to 1992; and as mayor of Pipestone, MN from 1977-1986.
Steve previously taught real estate education classes and continuing education classes at Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Worthington Campus; Southwest Minnesota State University; and through Community Education at Luverne Public Schools. He was also involved in establishing a 3-way partnership between the City of Luverne, Sanford Health, and Minnesota West Community and Technical College to establish Associate of Arts degree programs for the career paths of radiologic technician, surgical technician, medical assistant, and lab technician.
“Our kids are our most precious asset, and our standards should set them up with the best possible opportunity for success,” said Steve Perkins. “We need to raise the bar for our children and work to ensure that every child has the opportunity to pursue their dreams.”
Steve’s past volunteer service includes serving as Chair of the Luverne Community Hospital Board and Sanford Hospital Luverne Community Advisory Board, as Director and Trustee Council Member of the Minnesota Hospital Association, and as Chair of the Committee on Governance for the American Hospital Association.
Steve received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, Business, and Political Science from Macalester College.
Steve has four adult stepchildren with his wife Marianne. Together they have eight grandchildren.
WEEKLY ROUND[S] UP: JANUARY 30-FEBRUARY 5, 2023
by Senator Mike Rounds
Things are getting busier out here in Washington! This past week, our committee assignments were announced, which marks the beginning of a lot of work to come over the next two years. You’ll have to keep reading to see where I landed! We also met with several leaders from around the world, and leaders within our school and agriculture communities in South Dakota. Here’s my Weekly Round[s] Up:
South Dakota groups I visited with: Members of the South Dakota Wheat Growers Association and school board members with the Associated School Boards of South Dakota.
Meetings this past week: His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al-Hussein Ibn Abdulllah of Jordan; Several Romanian Members of Parliament including Senator Titus Corlățean, Chairman of the Romanian Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Mr. Ramush Haradinaj, Former Prime Minister of Kosovo; Sandra L. Thompson, Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency; Robert Fisher, Senior Vice President of Federal Government Affairs at Verizon; Catherine MacGregor, CEO of ENGIE; and Mouloud Said, Representative of Western Sahara to the United States. I also had the opportunity to meet with delegations from several African nations: Burundi, Kenya and the Togolese Republic.
We had our weekly Senate Bible Study (Philippians 1:6 was our verse of the week). On Thursday morning, we also hosted the National Prayer Breakfast. For the past few years, I’ve served in leadership helping to organize this event. Our leadership group privately met with the president and vice president before the ceremony to welcome them to the National Prayer Breakfast.
Each year, the National Prayer Breakfast provides an opportunity for us to come together, Republicans and Democrats alike, and pray for the success of our nation. The tradition of the National Prayer Breakfast dates back to President Dwight Eisenhower, who at the time confided in his close friend, Senator Frank Carlson, that the White House was the “loneliest house” he had ever lived in. Senator Carlson responded: “Mr. President, I think this may be the right time for you come meet with our prayer group.” And that’s just what President Eisenhower did. In this group, he found individuals who were willing to offer their non-partisan support to our president, the leader of the free world, because they knew that’s what was best for the country. The job of the president isn’t easy and you often find yourself in the midst of difficult political situations. However, as the president, you should still be able to count on our prayers for the success of our country. The National Prayer Breakfast provides an opportunity for us to recognize our common bonds and to offer our prayers for one another, our president and our nation.
Met with South Dakotans from: Mitchell, Mobridge, Pierre, White River and Woonsocket.
Topics discussed: Our nation’s debt ceiling, foreign purchases of land in the United States, spectrum (more information on this in the coming weeks) and our new committee assignments.
Legislation introduced: This past week, I reintroduced the PASS Act. This bipartisan legislation would blacklist China, Russia, Iran and North Korea from investing in, purchasing or otherwise acquiring American farmland and ag businesses.
Securing our land is critical to maintaining our national security. This bill, which I introduced with Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) has received good support on Capitol Hill and within the agricultural community in South Dakota. We are hopeful we can get the PASS Act included in a larger package and see this important piece of legislation signed into law. You can read more about the PASS Act here.
Resolution passed: My friend Senator John Thune and I passed a resolution this week honoring the SDSU Jackrabbit football team for their national championship win against the NDSU Bison. You can read the resolution here. Go Jacks!
Committees assigned: Committee assignments for the 118th Congress were announced this week. I will be serving on the following committees:
You can read more about each committee here. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve on these five key committees on behalf of the people of South Dakota.
Votes taken: 3 – we are a month into the new Congress and Democrats are off to a slow start. These votes were non-controversial. Two of them were for positions on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Institute of Peace. The other was a resolution supporting the observation of January as National Trafficking and Modern Slavery Prevention Month, a resolution that would normally move through unanimous consent and not require a formal vote and the usage of floor time. While it could be easy to get frustrated at the dysfunction, it’s important to remember that every day our Senate Democrat colleagues propose a light schedule, the less damage their proposals can inflict on our nation.
Classified briefings: With my new assignment on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I will begin to receive a much higher volume of classified briefings. Most of our meetings are all classified business – I had three classified Intel meetings already this past week! We also had our bi-weekly cyber education seminar and a Senate Armed Services Committee briefing on the Chinese surveillance balloon and conflict in Ukraine.
Unlike some in the Executive Branch, don’t expect to find any classified documents in my home or next to my Corvette. These documents belong in a secure compartmentalized information facility (or SCIF) and nowhere else!
My staff in South Dakota visited: Aberdeen and Rapid City, including having a booth all week at the Black Hills Stock Show.
Steps taken this week: 51,305 steps (or 24.05 miles).
Video of the Week: There was quite a bit of talk at the end of the week about the Chinese surveillance balloon that was flying across the United States. As you are probably aware, our military shot the balloon down off the coast of the Carolinas on Saturday. In my opinion, the balloon was shot down one continent too late. It should have never been allowed in U.S. airspace. While I was able to receive a classified briefing on the situation on Thursday morning, there are still many more questions than answers. I joined Neil Cavuto on Fox News on Friday to discuss the situation. You can watch the video here.
A Political Action Committee cited earlier as having been involved in the campaign against Julie Frye-Mueller’s suspension, as well as attacking her opponent in the prior primary, is apparently targeting Senators in their own neighborhoods in direct retaliation for their near unanimous vote to censure Frye-Mueller for her unbecoming conduct with an employee.
It was reported to me that over the last few days that this flyer has appeared in Legislative District 2, in the Brandon area, attacking State Senator Steve Kolbeck for his vote to censure Julie Frye Mueller for her highly inappropriate and comments on a Legislative Research Council’s infant vaccinations and nursing habits:
Claiming that “The Pierre Swamp Is Trying to Silence a Conservative Champion,” the flyer provides the legislator’s personal cell phone number, and superimposes his photo alongside that of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, for voting to censure Senator Frye Mueller over accusations that Mueller made crude and sexually charged suggestions on how a young mother can initiate lactation. According to sources, a “strange car was putting them on specific houses” in at least one neighborhood in Brandon.
As noted in a previous post, the group backing this material is the Not One Step Back Political Action Committee. According to Secretary of State Records, The “Not One Step” political action committee was started in 2021, as fronted by Anthony Mirzayants, who is noted as being the contact for the South Dakota School of Mines Young Americans for Liberty organization.
And in the last reports, most of the funds for the Political Action Committee came from Anthony Mirzayants and Taffy Howard supporter Luke Blindert, with Freedom Caucus Director Jordan Mason also noted as contributing funds in the pre-primary reports.
Previously, this same political action committee had been deeply involved with having made Independent Communications Expenditures in the Julie Frye Mueller/Tim Goodwin primary, spending thousands to go after Goodwin via postcards on COVID, Gun Rights and Spending:
You can read the original documents at the Secretary of State’s website, or in my previous post on the topic here.
The materials curiously use the language that “Senator Kolbeck voted to deprive 24,000 citizens of District 30 of their voice in Pierre,” referring to Frye-Mueller’s suspension for three days. Which is kind of a pittance compare and easily refuted in comparison to the amount of times she has been reported as being absent from the legislative session, skipping 6 days in 2021, 5 days in 2022, and after her suspension ended, Frye Mueller immediately skipped her responsibility to those same 24,000 voters the very next day.
With Frye-Meuller’s sycophants choosing to attacking legislators for the near-unanimous vote to censure her for her improper conduct with a Legislative Research Council employee, in what many were considering a done matter, is now setting up Frye-Mueller to extend the conflict.
With no allies in the body besides her seatmate Senator Tom Pischke, her lone vote of support, Frye-Mueller’s allies may be trying to continue a battle that was done, and have her serving in a far more combative environment against her colleagues.
After all of last week’s drama over JFM, we should expect that the news cycle would slide back into boring normalcy.
Court documents allege Shania Ann Knutson committed repeat thefts at Walmart between October and December. Knutson allegedly stole a total of $554.54 worth of goods across 12 separate occasions. She was allegedly “‘skip scanning’ and/or ticket switching to commit these acts,” the documents state.
Knutson, of Brookings, was crowned Miss South Dakota USA 2022. Knutson was also Miss South Dakota Teen USA in 2018 and appeared in Miss USA 2022.
… or maybe we’re not doing normalcy just yet.
From Austin Goss at Dakota News Now, former Democrat Treasurer candidate John Cunningham has announced that he is apparently willing to accept being tagged as “it” by Randy Seiler in the South Dakota Democrat chairmanship contest:
News from the SDDP Chair race: John Cunningham has officially jumped in to run for chair. Cunningham unsuccessfully ran for Treasurer last year.
— Austin Goss (@AustinGossSD) February 6, 2023
Anyone aware of other candidates in this contest at the moment?
Cunningham had ran for the chairmanship previously, in 2019, where he was unsuccessful against Paula Hawks, receiving 12% of the vote at the time. (With Hawks later running far away and fast when she figured out how bad things were. )
In the 2022 election for South Dakota Treasurer, Cunningham lost to Josh Haeder on a 2-1 basis 67.7% to 32.3%, which is not really demonstrative of the ability to generate efforts that might post a threat to Republican dominance in the state.
So… good for him. I hope he gets it.
The Status Quo at the Border Must Change
By Sen. John Thune
For two years now, a crisis has been raging along our southern border. 4.5 million illegal immigrants have been apprehended at the border, and another 1.2 million migrants have evaded capture while entering the United States. At the same time, the number of individuals on the terrorist watch list arrested at the border and the number of migrants who die attempting to enter the country have reached record highs. The border is clearly in crisis, but until recently, President Biden acted as if this crisis didn’t exist.
Two years ago the border was significantly more secure. It took time, but through a series of commonsense measures that included enforcing the law, stopping border crossers, and discouraging illegal immigration in the first place, the previous administration made real progress to attain operational control of the nearly 2,000-mile long border. But, on his first day in office, President Biden scrapped many of his predecessor’s policies. The effect of his actions was to declare that the United States’ border was effectively open. Unsurprisingly, a sea change occurred and border crossings shot up.
While the border crisis has overwhelmed border patrol and local resources in border communities, its impact reaches across the country. Influxes of illegal immigrants have strained the resources of cities from Denver to New York. Drugs, especially fentanyl, have come across the border and taken lives in communities across the country. In fact, fentanyl overdose is the leading cause of death for U.S. adults ages 18-45. Here in South Dakota, about as far from the southern border as you can get, the Minnehaha County sheriff estimates that 90 percent of fentanyl and methamphetamines in our state comes from Mexico, which recently surpassed China as the leading source of fentanyl.
To stem the tide of illegal immigrants and illegal drugs entering our country, we must secure the border. This depends foremost on the president being willing to enforce the laws currently on the books. Without executive leadership, even new laws to secure the border will fail to meaningfully deter individuals from making a dangerous journey that lines the pockets of coyotes and cartels. As long as illegal pathways are viable, we can expect these recent trends to continue.
We also need to ensure that legitimate, legal immigration is a realistic option for those fleeing persecution, pursuing the American dream, or seeking seasonal economic opportunity. I’ve repeatedly introduced legislation to open up opportunities for individuals to work in the United States when employers can’t find enough domestic labor. These programs help fill the need for supplemental workers in South Dakota, where unemployment is 2.3 percent and many business owners will tell you they just can’t find enough local workers. Ensuring our visa programs are agile enough to deliver labor relief to local businesses is one way we can enable economic growth through legal immigration.
The status quo at the border is neither safe nor humane, not for our country and not for those entering illegally. I hope the president’s visit to the border last month, his first ever, has awakened him to this reality. For our national security, public safety, and the safety of immigrants, we need to uphold the rule of law and secure the border.