Rounds Introduces South Dakota Witness at Senate EPW Hearing

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today introduced Secretary Steve Pirner of the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources as a witness at an EPW Committee hearing on states’ perspectives on federal regulatory actions. Today’s hearing, entitled “Cooperative Federalism: State Perspectives on EPA Regulatory Actions and the Role of States as Co-Regulators,” focused on whether the current regulatory framework between states and the EPA is working and upholding the principle of cooperative federalism.

Click to watch video of Rounds' introduction of Secretary Pirner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNZ5uRLeQjA&feature=youtu.be

Rounds’ Introductory Statement as prepared for delivery:

Secretary Pirner has served as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary for three South Dakota governors, but he has also been in various positions at DENR since 1979.

Secretary Pirner has more than three decades of experience with EPA regulations and is truly an expert in the field. Secretary Pirner has an impressive breadth of experience in every type of environmental regulation.

He has extensive experience in EPA rules regulating water, air and toxic substances.

Secretary Pirner leads an agency with approximately 180 full time employees.


The small group of employees is responsible for administering nearly all of the environmental laws from the EPA such as the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.


They are also responsible for administering various state environmental laws in a state with over 77,000 square miles of land.


Secretary Pirner knows all too well the demands on a small state agency with limited budgets that they face while attempting to administer the increasing multitude of EPA regulations forced upon the states.


Every day, he is confronted with the challenge of managing his agency’s resources in a way that will allow them to fulfill all of their state and federal duties as the environmental regulatory agency in South Dakota.


It should also be noted that 30 percent of DENR’s operating budget is reliant upon federal funds.


Every day, Secretary Pirner’s goal is to make sure that South Dakotans enjoy the cleanest air and water possible. In South Dakota, our environmental record is a source of pride for all of us.


During the time that I worked as governor in South Dakota for eight years, Steve was the secretary of this department.


He comes with a wealth of knowledge and an interest in seeing that things get done and get done correctly.”