Ethanol boosters are making quite an effort lately to tell Americans about the biofuel’s worth to the nation. What a circuitous route this ag-based industry has traveled in just a few short years.
This week, the industry is launching a $2.5 million advertising campaign aimed at changing the nation’s perception of the fuel, which generally is derived from corn but which likely will come from other sources in the not-too-distant future. A decade ago, ethanol was the darling of the Midwest, unable to do wrong.
A proposal before the state Legislature seeks to make the office of South Dakota secretary of agriculture an elected position. At present, the secretary of agriculture is a cabinet position that is filled by the governor. The idea, according to state Sen. Jim Bradford, one of the bill’s sponsors, is to give South Dakotans an option if they feel the secretary is not doing a good job.
It’s hardly news anymore to announce that a comprehensive grid must be put in place before South Dakota can live up to its potential as a major player in the wind energy industry.
We know we have wind here in South Dakota. Plenty of it.
Once again, the Environmental Protection Agency has its nose in the agriculture industry.
In recent weeks, we’ve heard about the possibility that the EPA would require producers to pay taxes on the natural emissions that come from livestock such as cattle and hogs. Although it’s just a remote chance that it could happen — our two U.S. senators even disagree on the possibility — it’s still a case of the EPA’s eagerness to make rules that could entirely hinder ag producers’ ability to make a living.
It’s not necessarily an “all-clear” signal, but statements made in recent days by the South Dakota Department of Health have shown the agency is downgrading its response to the H1N1 influenza virus.
Based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health this week said it is no longer recommending school dismissal or closure of child care facilities in response to the virus. It noted that two child care facilities in Sioux Falls were notified they may reopen.
Know what sounds good? Pork chops. Grilled, perhaps with a side of corn on the cob.
We think it’s terrible that the nation’s pork producers are worried about taking a financial hit due to the outbreak of swine flu. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued statements noting that eating pork is safe, national pork prices have fallen in the days since the swine flu outbreak was announced by the worldwide media early this week.
Is America getting closer to a tax on cow emissions? It depends on who you’re asking. A few months ago, the possibility of taxing our livestock for their digestive indiscretions would have seemed like nothing more than the hot air such a proposal seeks to assess. But something is afoul here, and it’s not just the methane-rich emissions of our cows and hogs.
Come on, EPA. You can’t be serious. Air-quality standards at schools in Mitchell and Yankton are among the nation’s worst, according to a report by the national newspaper USA Today. Yet when the Environmental Protection Agency begins doling out funds and assistance to conduct test to check up on the health of our schools’ air quality, it won’t be doing so in South Dakota.
“There are no passengers on spaceship Earth. … We are all crew,” Canadian scholar Marshall McLuhan said in 1964. And on no other day do his words ring truer than tomorrow, Earth Day, the moment set aside to reflect on green successes and to focus on environmental initiatives.
The reflector system that’s in place along Interstate 90 doesn’t appear to be making a great dent in the number of car-deer crashes at the site, according to the state Department of Transportation.
True, there isn’t much proof yet that the system isn’t working, either, but we aren’t optimistic.
When it comes to wind-energy development, South Dakotans have talked the talk for some time now.
We’ve discussed at length the merits of wind power. We’ve talked about the ample supply of wind that blows across the hills and prairies of central and eastern South Dakota. And we’ve lamented the lack of transmission ability to take this new power source — harnessed wind energy — to metropolitan markets that can most use it.
April 10, 2009
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