Governor Daugaard fights for states' rights during trip to Capitol Hill

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Governor Dennis Daugaard made a trip to Washington D.C. this week as part of the Western Governors’ Association. He and three other Governors joined the House Committee on Natural Resources this morning to discuss resource management and energy development in their respective states.

The four governors want Washington to give more power to the states, especially over wildlife and resource management.

The trip has been jam packed, but successful according to Governor Daugaard. He has met with the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and this morning, he testified in front of the House Natural Resources Committee.

The Governor’s opening statement highlighted the Endangered Species Act, an act that many governors and members of the Committee say was inadequately implemented.

"In South Dakota, we want to protect and promote species present in our state,” said Daugaard in his testimony. "Unfortunately state governments are often left out of the conversation when it comes to ESA decisions.”

He says that organizations unaffiliated with South Dakota make important decisions on wildlife and other matters dear to the people of South Dakota. He mentioned that not all of these groups know what is best for his state.

"In the end it seems like they’re more interested in self-perpetuation than in improving our situation on the ground,” said Daugaard.

This was a common rhetoric at the hearing. Many of the governors were asking why Washington thinks it knows how to run their states better than they do.

"The federal government inserts itself and overlays another level of regulation,” said Daugaard. "Not because the federal regulation is better or the state regulation is inadequate, but just because the federal government can, and does.”

The four Governors mentioned many times how their states are vastly different from one another, especially when talking about natural resources and wildlife. Governor Daugaard said the fact that the federal government has sweeping jurisdiction over such differing states is inappropriate.

The Governor’s visit is not quite over. He will attend staff meetings over the next couple days on Capitol Hill before heading back home to South Dakota.