MA 27




24 linear feet (24 records center boxes) photographs


The South Dakota Resources Coalition works to preserve and enhance the environment, protect natural resources, and encourages citizens and businesses to adopt sound environmental practices. The collection is composed of records of the South Dakota Resources Coalition, including meeting minutes, committee files, correspondence, financial and membership records and publications.

Historical Note

When the South Dakota Resources Coalition was organized in the early 1970's, the environmental movement in the United States was young. While many national organizations and individuals had been involved in the "conservation" issues for years, the nation did not stir itself environmentally until after 1967. This year marked the beginning of federal laws and energetic efforts by the newly created United States Environmental Protection Agency not only to cope with rapidly expanding jurisdiction and authority, but also to build a constituency across the nation.

In the spring of 1972, Governor Richard Kneip "wanted something done about giving the scattered groups interested in the environment a politically viable voice." At that time, Esther R. Edie was secretary of South Dakotans for a Quality Environment, a local Brookings group. This group had been sending letters to the governor complaining about various aspects of state natural resource policy, specifically water resources management. A meeting was arranged with Edie, Dan Bucks, and Ted Muenster, executive assistants to the governor. Edie was asked to bring together the citizens' groups. The governor offered in return to co-sponsor a symposium on environmental issues as a kick-off for the new organization. He would be present to open the symposium and his office would help with publicity. Furthermore, he would guarantee the participation of "any state bureaucrat" for the symposium.

The South Dakota Environmental Symposium was held September 28, 1972, with Governor Kneip welcoming about 80 participants. The keynote speaker was Dave Trauger, head of the Iowa Environmental Coalition. Panels and workshops led by state officials and others were held on the state water plan, the Missouri River and Big Sioux River designation projects, Black Hills Forest policies and practices, recycling, air quality, and formation of an environmental organization.

Following the symposium, the South Dakota Environmental Coalition immediately became involved in the issues. On the state level, the Oahe irrigation project was its focus. On the national level, the Clean Air Act, the Water Pollution Control Amendments, and the Trans-Alaska pipeline were areas of concern. The group held its first annual meeting May 5, 1973, on the Augustana College campus in Sioux Falls.

By the end of 1973, several groups from across South Dakota were members. They included South Dakotans for a Quality Environment, the South Dakota Chapter of the Wildlife Society, Dakota Environmental Council, Brookings County National Formers Organization, James Valley Nature Club, the South Dakota Lung Association, the South Dakota State University Wildlife Management Club, Center for Community Organization and Development, Community Recyclers of Usable Discards, Save the Black Hills, and the state League of Women Voters.

In 1978, the group changed its name to South Dakota Resources Coalition to reflect more accurately its broad concerns. It also was incorporated as a non-profit, tax exempt organization. In 1982, the board set up a separate corporation, The South Dakota Resources Protection Fund, to raise and dispense funds for lobbying.

Through the years, South Dakota Resources Coalition has sponsored or co-sponsored many public education programs and other special events. The first, in 1973, was a four-part public television series titled "Who Shall Control the Land?" Some extensive projects were carried out with grants from the United States EPA. The first grant, in 1974, was for a water quality institute to train local government officials and other community leaders in implementation of the federal Water Pollution Control Amendments of 1972. In 1978-79, another grant gave the group an opportunity to make a film in cooperation with South Dakota Public Television titled "The Invisible Thief." This film focused on water pollution for non-point sources. This grant also helped to fund an insert on water quality for Eco Forum, the group's newsletter.

South Dakota Resources Coalition has been represented on a number of citizen’s advisory committees appointed by the executive branch the state government. Some of these include the South Dakota Futures Program, Citizens and Community Advisory Committee on the Oahe Project, Citizens Advisory Committee for Statewide Water Quality Management Planning, and the Citizens Advisory Committee on Toxic Air Regulations.

South Dakota Resources Coalition has been involved in lobbying on a long list of national issues. It has also been a participant in regional environmental programs like the Great Plains Environmental Conference and the Missouri River-Great Plains Caucus.

Throughout its history, South Dakota Resources Coalition has maintained its place as a leader in the South Dakota environmental movement. Its work on issues such as water quality, waste disposal, and mining suggest that it will continue to be a player in the years to come.

Content Notes

The South Dakota Resources Coalition consists of administrative material and subject files. The administrative material consists of meeting minutes, committee files, correspondence, financial and membership records and publications. The subject files consist of research SDRC has performed throughout the years, mainly to assist them in their lobbying efforts. The subjects deal mainly with environmental issues as they relate to South Dakota.

SDSU Archives and Special Collections

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South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.


Copyright restrictions apply in different ways to different materials. Many of the documents and other historical materials in the Archives are in the public domain and may be reproduced and used in any way. There are other materials in the Archive carrying a copyright interest and must be used according to the provisions of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. The Archive issues a warning concerning copyright restrictions to every researcher who requests copies of documents. Although the copyright law is under constant redefinition in the courts, it is ultimately the responsibility of the researcher to properly use copyrighted material.