Two proposed multi-billion dollar underground carbon dioxide pipelines that would run more than 500 miles in South Dakota have drawn strong landowner interest and opposition. But the pipeline projects have also brought to light a fundamental debate over whether carbon capture and sequestration technology is worth the immense investment and risks, and if it is the right approach to reducing carbon emissions and slowing global climate change. Part 1 of a two-part South Dakota News Watch series.
Increasing difficulty in finding new volunteers and adequate funding have put rural ambulance services in South Dakota at risk of closure, leaving rural residents in danger of enduring longer response times in emergencies or even a total loss of access to emergency transportation. When a Meade County service collapsed in 2020, it meant some people were an hour away from getting emergency help.
A legislative battle is heating up in Pierre between municipal electric utilities and rural electric co-operatives over a law that allows cities to take over rural electric customers and infrastructure when annexations take place. The co-ops are supporting a bill that would give them more rights when cities expand and take customers and revenues away from the rural providers. Municipalities say the law helps them attract development; the co-ops say the taking of more customers could lead to higher rates for rural customers.
Residents in wide swaths of rural South Dakota do not have access to primary medical care, let alone specialist care. Medical schools, including the University of South Dakota, are graduating more doctors than ever, but those young doctors do not have enough residency opportunities to complete their training to work on their own. The problem has heightened barriers to access to health care in rural areas of the state.
New national study ranks South Dakota top five in need for improvements, but educators say small, rural schools bring intangible benefits as a result of closer relationships between students and staffs.
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