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Newscast 04.11.24: The Community Action Agency of Siouxland blasts Gov. Reynolds for underfunding food program for children and turning down Summer EBT funds

A new summer food program announced by the governor doesn’t sit well with the head of a Siouxland charity organization.

In December, Governor Reynolds turned down about $29 million in federal funding for the Summer EBT program. Yesterday (Wednesday), she announced that $900,000 will be available in grants to schools and organizations to provide food and snacks during the summer.

The Executive Director of the Community Action Agency of Siouxland, Jean Logan, says the governor's actions are appalling.

“I am really tired of hearing people say how much they care about children and families. And then something like this happens where it is clear to me that you are not really valuing those families or those children by the small amount that you have given to try to make up for us as a state not applying for the Federal EBT program.

Logan urges people across the state to let the governor know she made a big mistake in turning down the federal money.

Reynolds said she worried about the sustainability of the program and felt it did not “promote proper nutrition at a time when child obesity has become an epidemic.”

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North and South Dakota, is the third tribal nation to ban Gov. Kristi Noem from tribal lands this year.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council voted to banish Noem for “racially charged” comments that she made at town hall meetings. She claimed that some tribal leaders were “personally benefitting” from Mexican drug cartel activity on reservations.

Five tribes have demanded an apology from Noem, but so far, she has not issued one.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe excluded Noem in February and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe banned her last week. Noem was previously banned from the Pine Ridge Reservation in 2019 after signing two bills into law that set up rules for protests over the Keystone XL pipeline.


The Environmental Protection Agency statistics on water pollution has raised additional concern over Smithfield Foods’ dumping of toxic materials into the Big Sioux River in Sioux Falls, according to South Dakota News Watch.

Falls Park, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Experience Sioux Falls
Falls Park, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Downtown development and a new master plan for Falls Park haa the state to crack down on the amount of hazardous waste that goes into the Big Sioux. The river also has high levels of E. coli bacteria from agriculture and livestock operations upstream.

The EPA says that Smithfield ranked first nationally among 1,671 facilities within the food sector for total waste releases, with nearly million pounds. The pork plant ranked seventh nationally among non-poultry animal slaughtering facilities for nitrate compounds released.

Smithfield went operational with a new $45 million wastewater treatment facility in May 2023, and that helped reduce the amount of nitrate compounds released into the river.

In a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Sierra Club says the spill and traveled over 60 miles through Iowa and Missouri and it is a flagrant violation of the Clean Water Act.

The Sierra club is asking the EPA to become engaged in enforcement actions against NEW Cooperative, Inc. and encourages both civil and criminal actions to be taken against the cooperative and its employees. The club says the penalties need to be more severe than a simple slap on the wrist.


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