PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A potential pumped-storage water project in Gregory County is another step closer to being removed from South Dakota law.
The state House of Representatives voted 45-24 on Wednesday to take it off the state water resources management system list.
“We’re not trying to stop a project. I’m not trying to stop a project,” said Republican Rep. Marty Overweg, the prime sponsor of HB-1058. “Actually no cloak and dagger here. I’m just trying to clean up this law.”
The project has been on the state lawbooks for decades, dating back to at least 1980s, when it was first considered as a possible hydro-electric site. A 1988 state law lists it as part of a Missouri River cost-recovery authority. Another 1988 law mentions “multipurpose water supply and irrigation features of the Gregory County Hydroelectric Pumped Storage Facility.”
Overweg however said his memory was that its original potential purpose was irrigation. MidAmerican Energy is the latest utility to explore its potential for producing electricity.
Republican Rep. Roger Chase opposed the de-listing Wednesday. “I’m concerned, if we’re taking one out, let’s take ’em all out,” he said.
Republican Rep. Rocky Blare agreed with Overweg’s recollection. Blare, a co-sponsor of the bill, said his father was part of the original effort. “The drought back then was real severe,” Blare said.
The bill now goes to the Senate for a committee hearing. Republican Sen. Erin Tobin is the lead sponsor there.