Rounds: President ‘Thumbed His Nose’ at American People

Rounds: President ‘Thumbed His Nose’ at American People

MikeRounds official Senate WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today expressed his disappointment in President Obama’s veto of the Keystone XL legislation.

“Once again, the President has chosen to appease the far-left wing of his political base instead of doing what’s best for the American people,” said Rounds. “Our Keystone legislation is an important jobs, infrastructure and energy bill that received widespread, bipartisan support in Congress. In his veto, he has thumbed his nose at the American people who overwhelmingly support the project, our Canadian allies and the economic growth of our nation.”

The State Department has issued five environmental impact studies, all of which showed Keystone is not expected to have any significant effects on the environment. In South Dakota, the pipeline would mean more tax money for schools.  It would also free up our railways, allowing South Dakota farmers to ship their grain to market in a faster, more cost-effective way.


Press Release: Noem Statement on President Obama’s Veto of the Keystone XL Pipeline

Noem Statement on President Obama’s Veto of the Keystone XL Pipeline

kristi noem headshot May 21 2014Washington, D.C. – Rep. Kristi Noem today issued the following statement after President Obama issued a veto on S.1, the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act – a bill that passed both the House and Senate with bipartisan support:

“The President’s veto on Keystone was a veto on jobs, revenue for cash-strapped South Dakota counties, and much-needed relief on the roads and rails that are currently crowded with oil transit. This pipeline is a commonsense place to start as we work toward a stronger energy economy, because it’s a place where Republicans and Democrats, the House and the Senate, and the overwhelming majority of Americans can find common ground.  But the President vetoed that opportunity.  I am hopeful this is not the end of the road for the pipeline and remain committed to doing all I can to see Keystone through.”


NRA Backed measures on Concealed Weapons being heard Killed in Senate Judiciary today (Updated, with votes).

I’m listening in this morning to the measures backed by the National Rifle Association as they’re being heard in Senate Judiciary this morning, after they both successfully moved through the House of Representatives.

HB 1096, An act to revise certain procedures for issuing a permit to carry a concealed pistol and
HB 1116, an act to repeal and revise certain provisions relating to the requirements for a permit to carry a concealed pistol taken together would drastically alter laws on how concealed weapons are carried in the state, both in terms of the nature of background checks and how concealed weapons are carried and stored in the state.

House Bill 1116 was opposed by the Administration in the House.

…..  And it looks like both of them were sent to the 41st day by committee members.

How did House Bill 1096 fare?

HB 1096, Senate Judiciary, Deferred to the 41st legislative day
Bradford Yea Heinert Yea Monroe Nay
Rusch Yea Vehle Yea Novstrup (David) Yea
Tieszen Yea
Ayes 6 Nays 1 Excused 0 Absent 0

And House Bill 1116 fared about as well, except on this measure, Mike Vehle appeared long enough to speak against, and then leave….

HB 1116, Senate Judiciary, Deferred to the 41st legislative day
Bradford Yea Heinert Yea Monroe Nay
Rusch Yea Vehle Excused Novstrup (David) Yea
Tieszen Yea
Ayes 5 Nays 1 Excused 1 Absent 0

Thune, others raise alarm over Obama Administration’s attack on the beef industry.

In case you weren’t paying attention to Senator Thune’s column this week, it brought up an early alarm that many ag State representatives are feeling over the Obama administration new dietary guidelines which seem to be going on the attack against the Beef industry:

Prime ribEvery five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services review the dietary guidelines for American food consumption. A recent advisory committee report recommends to the agencies what should be included in the new dietary guidelines. The nearly 600-page report leaves lean red meat out of what it considers to be a healthy diet, which is not only a great concern to dietitians who support consumption of lean red meat but is also concerning for the South Dakota livestock industry.

This isn’t the first time the Obama administration has promoted limiting meat consumption. As you may recall, in 2012, USDA sent an in-house newsletter encouraging employees to participate in “Meatless Mondays” while dining in USDA cafeterias. The newsletter went on to attack the production of meat in the U.S., saying that meat production has “a large environmental impact,” and that an employee should “help yourself and the environment” by not eating meat.

It is hard to believe that the very agency tasked with promoting agriculture would encourage people not to eat meat.

Read it here.   And it’s not just Senator Thune. In a story yesterday at, they had a broad national picture of what the dietary guidelines mean to the country’s beef producers:

The report, which is open for public comment for 45 days, will be used by the government not only to mold dietary guidelines but also used as the basis for government food assistance programs as well as school lunch programs, worth an estimated $16 billion annually.

The North American Meat Institute slammed the report, calling it “flawed” and “nonsensical.” Members of the meat industry as well as those from soda makers, say the panel has gone “beyond its scope.”

Dr. Richard Thorpe, a Texas physician and rancher, told that he is disappointed in the panel’s recommendations and said “it’s absurd the committee would suggest the reduction of meat, or red meat, in the American diet.”


Part of the problem, Thorpe says, is that the government is telling Americans they should also consider the sustainability of their food. That, for some, translates to eating less meat and loading up on vegetables and plants.

“Legumes should be a mainstay of an American diet?” Thorpe said, adding that it would take a wheelbarrow full of spinach to meet the same amount of iron in a serving of beef. He added that iron found in beef is not equal to iron in spinach, and that beef’s iron is more absorbable.

According to a June 2014 study in the journal Climatic Change, the average meat-eater in the United States is responsible for almost twice as much global warming as the average vegetarian and almost tripled that of the average vegan.

Read it here.

If you want to read the report for yourself, or better yet offer comment and ask why they’re attacking the consumption of meet by the Obama Administration, here’s the pertinent information from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion:

Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

As announced in the Federal Register [PDF – 181KB], the “Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee” is now available. Individuals are encouraged to submit written comments to the federal government on the Advisory Report. Written comments will be accepted online through midnight E.D.T. on April 8, 2015.

HHS and USDA will host a public oral comment meeting on March 24, 2015. Meeting registration will open on or around March 9, 2015.

If you don’t want them to kill the beef industry, and increase the price of hamburger even more than the record price increases being experienced for beef because of shortages, take a minute, and give them your written comments.

Otherwise, if you’re so inclined, the Public Oral testimony will be held in Bethesda Maryland, which is about 1300 files as the crow flies from Pierre. (I’d encourage our Representatives in Washington to press that they vet this report in the heartland as well as the beltway.)

Newspaper editorial blasts Brookings School Board, drawing at least one candidate to run.

This editorial was on the front page of the Brookings Register last week, possibly prompting at least one candidate to immediately file papers to run for the Brookings School Board:

How does it benefit the citizens of the Brookings School District when its elected representatives attempt to cover up the fact they’ve forced the superintendent to resign?

“I have no comment on that,” school board President Marysz Rames told the Register’s education reporter two weeks ago when he attempted to get the untold details of the story. “That’s a personnel matter.”


So, while all the superintendent’s professional responsibilities have been eliminated, he’s still collecting more than $11,000 a month through June 30. That’s at least $55,000 for five months of non-duty as a powerless drone.

By our reckoning, that’s more than $115,000 of taxpayer money the board has been willing to spend to rid itself of DeGroot. Doesn’t that demand some kind of explanation?

By the way the matter was handled, it’s obvious the school board wanted to keep the circumstances hidden from the public. Why?


DeGroot’s termination, the settlement agreement, the document details were all handled outside of public scrutiny which leads one to wonder if the decisions made by the board were in compliance with the state’s open meeting laws. We’ll never know about that, either.

Read it all here.

As noted, it looks like that article was the tipping point for at least one new candidate for the office, who cited some of that controversy as a reason why she got in the race:

She added that it felt like the right time with “some current issues and related uncertainties” that have recently happened with the Brookings School District and school board following Superintendent Roger DeGroot’s termination.

   “If I have the honor of serving on the school board, I will always look at all of the information and options while basing my decisions on what’s best for the district as a whole,” she said. “I hope to increase family, teacher and staff involvement with school board matters.”

Read that here.

The deadline to file petitions for the office is Friday.

Zach Crago still on the Dem’s Payroll? South Dakota Democrats paying Crago helmed consulting firm for Strategy.

Here’s something from the Democrat’s latest federal FEC filing. If you take a look at the latest filing, under schedule “H4.”


We see that Democrats are reporting that they paid a “Strategic Planning Consulting Fee” to Bluestem Initiatives, LLC of Sioux Falls.  You might be asking “Who dat?”


Apparently, they’re still paying former Executive Director Zach Crago, who led Democrats to their latest set of victories for his “Stratergy.” You know, their victories. Like the one where they picked up that one State Senate seat.

And my memory escapes me at the moment, did it cost them five or six House seats to pick up that one?

Is this an omen that South Dakota Democrats are going to stay the course for 2016?  Because I’m good with that.

Democrats realize they can’t win, plan on recruiting Republicans.

Well, that’s a new one on me.

If you haven’t noticed, because of their stances which don’t jibe with most of South Dakota, Democrats have been hunted to extinction in the state. So, what’s the response of young democrats who are tired of seeing their party lose race, after race, after race?

Recruit friendly Republicans:

An organization formed in November is in the early stages of implementing a mission of electing more Democrats to local offices and the state Legislature.


The Democratic Party is good at getting policy passed and in supporting federal races, so the South Dakota Progress group will fill a niche at the local level.

Wilke said the Democratic Party is unable to focus on the local elections, especially the nonpartisan ones, because it doesn’t have the manpower or the time.


The goal is to fill ballots with the names of Democrats or even progressive Republicans.

“We would find them,” she said. “We wouldn’t just wait for them to come to us. We would look for people who are really active in their community.”

Read it all here.

So, the Democrat Party can’t be bothered to run candidates, because they’re too busy on ballot issues and “supporting federal races.”  So, with their blessing, this outside group is going to recruit liberal Republicans to run.   Whom I really, really suspect are going to be slaughtered at the ballot box. Badly.

They might ask Scott Heidepreim how that worked out for him 4-5 years ago when he switched parties.

Someday, we’ll be telling our grandchildren – “I remember when there were two political parties in South Dakota. But then a bunch of goofy liberals got ahold of the Democrat party, and drove it off the cliff.”

The takeaway is that Democrats have finally realized they can’t win, so, they plan on recruiting Republicans.  Can we start counting down the days to the next shellacking at the ballot box?

…..Or maybe it’s time to approve Keystone XL

From the Associated Press:

The federal government predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year over the next two decades, causing more than $4 billion in damage and possibly killing hundreds of people if an accident happens in a densely populated part of the U.S.

The projection comes from a previously unreported analysis by the Department of Transportation that reviewed the risks of moving vast quantities of both fuels across the nation and through major cities. The study completed last July took on new relevance this week after a train loaded with crude derailed in West Virginia, sparked a spectacular fire and forced the evacuation of hundreds of families.

Monday’s accident was the latest in a spate of fiery derailments, and senior federal officials said it drives home the need for stronger tank cars, more effective braking systems and other safety improvements.

“This underscores why we need to move as quickly as possible getting these regulations in place,” said Tim Butters, acting administrator for the Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Read that here.

In response to using trains to haul fuel, the federal government is poised to impose a slate of rules and regulations.

As opposed to examining a much safer method – Approving the Keystone XL pipeline.

But that would make too much sense.

US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: Waters of the U.S. Rule Hurts South Dakota Producers

Waters of the U.S. Rule Hurts South Dakota Producers
February 23, 2015
U.S. Senator Mike Rounds

MikeRounds official SenateIn South Dakota, agriculture is our number one industry, accounting for more than half of our economic output. To be successful, our farmers and ranchers must be good stewards of their land so that it remains viable. And they are. South Dakota producers are inherently good conservationists – their livelihoods depend on it. They don’t need the Obama Administration interfering in their conservation efforts.

Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers think they know how to manage our land better than us. Their latest proposal would redefine EPA’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, expanding its regulatory authority to cover puddles, small ponds, field ditches and other areas with only remote connections to water, essentially allowing them to dictate farming operations.

Over the President’s Day recess, I hosted a roundtable discussion with area stakeholders in Sioux Falls to hear firsthand how the Waters of the U.S. proposal would impact agriculture. Representatives from the South Dakota Corn Growers Association, the South Dakota Soybean Association, Ag United, Minnehaha County and the South Dakota Farm Bureau all showed up and told me the same thing—the proposed rule would significantly handicap their day-to-day operations. Under the new rule, my understanding is that if a farmer wanted to spray fertilizer on his fields but part of it was connected to water – even temporarily – that farmer would have to apply for a permit before he or she could proceed so as not to contaminate that water. And we all know how well the federal government is at processing paperwork.

If the intent of the rule is merely to “clarify” the Clean Water Act and not change any policy – as EPA claims is the case – then they shouldn’t need this rule on the books at all. But I agree with farmers and ranchers that the rule would be a complete overhaul and expansion of EPA’s jurisdiction. In this case, I believe it is Congress’s duty to determine whether such a sweeping policy change is necessary. I’m confident that many of my colleagues would agree with me that the Waters of the U.S. proposal is completely unnecessary.

In 1972, the Clean Water Act established a system that gives the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers the ability to regulate navigable waters, such as rivers. It allows local governments to monitor smaller water features, like ditches, ponds, and streams because state and local governments are more in touch with economic and environmental situations on the ground. This has been working for the past 43 years – without the heavy hand of Washington getting in the way.

Giving the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers more control over our lives and land is both unnecessary and unwise. Every farmer and rancher I have talked to about this has agreed that the proposed rule would bog down their productivity with massive new regulatory hurdles. It is clear to me that the Waters of the U.S. proposal is fatally flawed. I will continue to seek ways to stop its implementation as a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over EPA and the Army Corps.