BY BOB MERCER, American News Correspondent
4:05 AM EDT, September 7, 2011
PIERRE - The Legislature's special task force on wind energy meets today at the state Capitol to receive reports on the pluses and minuses of South Dakota's tax structure and those of other states for development of wind power.
The task force will also hear about the South Dakota Energy Infrastructure Authority, which was created by the Legislature in a compromise with then-Gov. Mike Rounds in 2005, but has been seldom heard from in recent years. The authority has sweeping financial and other powers that haven't been invoked.
Last month, Rounds was chosen to join an expanded board of directors for Michigan-based ITC, an electricity transmission company that wants to build a major network that would carry power from the Dakotas to states in the Midwest.
The task force, chaired by Rep. Roger Solum, R-Watertown, will also receive a presentation today regarding wind development on tribal lands and will hear directly from representatives for companies involved in generating and using electricity from wind turbines.
Those invited to deliver testimony are Iberdrola Renewables, Nextera Energy Resources, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Acciona Energy, BP Wind Energy and Clipper Windpower.
Staff at the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources came across an odd inconsistency regarding fees for copies of public documents.
A 1992-era set of administrative rules governing DENR allows for the first 10 pages to be free and 20 cents per page after that for normal copies. There are higher fees for other types and sizes of documents.
The department proposes repealing those rules and following the general copy-fee schedule used in the rest of state government's executive branch. The standard fee is 25 cents per page for normal documents and higher fees for others.
DENR plans a public hearing at 1 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Matthew training center wing of the Foss Building at 523 E. Capitol Ave. in Pierre. Written comments need to be received by Oct. 23.
The department isn't changing its fee waiver for the first 100 pages of a document request from news media, said staff member Joe Nadenicek.
The state's task force on nonsource point pollution will look at two examples where livestock operators have made changes to better control manure run-off into local watersheds.
The tour Sept. 14 will stop at the Charles Swanson feedlot south of Pukwana and the Brink Farms feedlot north of Platte.
The task force reviews projects seeking federal funding from the Environmental Protection Agency's watershed protection program and makes recommendations to the state Board of Water and Natural Resources, whose members file the formal requests to EPA. Rick Vallery from South Dakota Wheat chairs the task force.
The Oacoma meeting starts at 10 a.m. at Cedar Shore Resort, with the field tour departing at 1 p.m.
The governor appointed Timothy Bottum of Mitchell to replace George Prest on the state Corrections Commission.
The governor also added Jennifer Bunkers of Chester to the state task force on trust administration review and reform and named Michael McDowell of Madison to the state Transportation Commission to succeed John Kranz of Mitchell.
Darrel Kessler of Aberdeen, Pam Kettering of Yankton and David Johnson of Sioux Falls have been reappointed to the state Board of Examiners for Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists.
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