Setbacks hamper pipeline industry backed by Trump
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. energy boom and strong backing from President Donald Trump propelled a major expansion of the nation’s sprawling oil and gas pipeline network in the past decade. But mounting political pressure and legal setbacks have put its future growth in doubt — even as the pandemic saps demand for fuel. Two major oil pipelines in the Midwest suffered courtroom blows this week and utilities in the Southeast cancelled plans for an $8 billion gas transmission line. Industry executives acknowledge their opponents have found some success in the courts, but say demand will rebound and pipelines are the safest way to move oil.
Mount Rushmore fireworks cost South Dakota $1.5 million
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota spent approximately $1.5 million for its Independence Day celebration that featured a speech from President Donald Trump and fireworks above the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The estimate from the Department of Tourism covers all security, transportation and pyrotechnics for the event. The fireworks display alone cost the state $350,000. But the Department of Tourism said the advertising exposure and tourism spending more than made up for the expenses. The Department of Tourism estimates that tourism spending of $2 million brought in $160,000 in tax revenue. It also says the media coverage of the fireworks was worth about $22 million in advertising.
Noem says she is not interested in 2024 presidential run
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says she is not interested in running for president in 2024 and would rather stay in South Dakota. The first-term Republican governor has drawn attention from conservative commentators for avoiding lockdown orders during the coronavirus pandemic. Supporters on social media have even called for her to run for president in 2024, but she says she’s not interested. Noem made the comments in a conference call with Center of the American Experiment, a conservative think-tank based in Minnesota. Noem has courted the attention of President Donald Trump while in office, but she says she uses her relationship with the White House to advocate for the needs of South Dakota. Noem’s first term as governor ends at the beginning of 2023.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-SOUTH DAKOTA
South Dakota plans speedy coronavirus testing for Sturgis
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota health officials say they will send 20 COVID-19 testing machines capable of producing tests in minutes to help carry out the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally amid the coronavirus pandemic. The 80th edition of the annual rally is expected to attract thousands of people to western South Dakota next month. About 500,000 people have shown up in previous years. The Rapid City Journal reports that the city council decided to cautiously proceed with the 10-day rally after realizing motorcycle enthusiasts were going to show up regardless. The Department of Health plans to send Abbott ID Now testing machines to the area.
Former police officer sentenced for soliciting a 13-year-old
BROOKINGS, S.D. (AP) — A former South Dakota State University police officer has been sentenced to spend eight years in prison for soliciting a 13-year-old girl and possessing child pornography. Twenty-five-year-old Adam Lehnertz was a university police officer when he solicited the girl through email and exchanged photos with her in April and June of 2019. Lehnertz pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor and possessing child pornography in a deal with prosecutors. Nine other possession counts were dismissed in exchange for his plea. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison with two years suspended Tuesday in Brookings County.