SDEPA Glossary: Key Terms & Definitions for Developers and Consultants

SDEPA Key Terms & Definitions

Action: In the context of SDEPA, an "action" refers to any project, activity, or decision by a state agency that may have a significant impact on the environment. Actions that require environmental review under SDEPA are defined in SDEPA § 1-1-2(a).

Alternatives: Under SDEPA, state agencies must consider alternatives to proposed actions that may have less adverse environmental impacts. The analysis of alternatives is a key component of the environmental impact statement (EIS) required for certain projects. SDEPA § 2-1-6(c) outlines the requirements for the alternatives analysis in an EIS.

Critical Habitat: A critical habitat is a specific geographic area that is essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species. SDEPA prohibits development activities that would result in the destruction or significant alteration of critical habitats. Critical habitats are defined in SDEPA § 1-1-3(d).

Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR): The South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) is the primary state agency responsible for administering and enforcing SDEPA. DANR's role in the SDEPA process is established in SDEPA § 1-1-4.

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS): An environmental impact statement (EIS) is a detailed document that assesses the potential environmental consequences of a proposed action. Under SDEPA, state agencies must prepare an EIS for any action that may have a significant effect on the environment. The requirements for an EIS are outlined in SDEPA Chapter 2.

Hazardous Waste: Hazardous waste is a type of waste that poses a substantial or potential threat to public health or the environment due to its quantity, concentration, or physical, chemical, or infectious characteristics. SDEPA regulates the management and disposal of hazardous waste, as defined in SDEPA § 1-1-5(b).

Mitigation Measures: Mitigation measures are actions taken to avoid, minimize, or compensate for the adverse environmental impacts of a proposed action. SDEPA requires state agencies to consider and implement mitigation measures as part of the environmental review process. Mitigation requirements are addressed in SDEPA § 2-1-8(d).

Ozone-Depleting Substances: Ozone-depleting substances are chemicals that contribute to the depletion of the Earth's ozone layer. SDEPA prohibits the use of ozone-depleting substances, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), in manufacturing processes and other activities, as specified in SDEPA § 3-1-15(d).

Permit: A permit is a legal document issued by a state agency that authorizes a regulated entity to engage in a specific activity, such as discharging pollutants or developing land in a critical habitat. SDEPA establishes permitting requirements for various activities, as outlined in SDEPA Chapter 3.

Pollution: Pollution refers to the presence or introduction of substances or energy into the environment that have harmful or adverse effects. SDEPA aims to prevent and control pollution to protect human health and the environment. The definition of pollution is provided in SDEPA § 1-1-6(a).

Public Participation: Public participation is the process by which the public is informed about and involved in the environmental review and decision-making processes under SDEPA. State agencies must provide opportunities for public participation, such as public hearings and comment periods, as required by SDEPA § 2-1-10.

Regulated Entity: A regulated entity is any individual, organization, or facility that is subject to the requirements and provisions of SDEPA. This may include industrial and manufacturing facilities, energy production and transmission projects, mining operations, and other activities that have the potential to cause significant environmental impacts, as defined in SDEPA § 1-1-7.

Significant Environmental Impact: A significant environmental impact is a substantial, or potentially substantial, adverse change in the environment resulting from a proposed action. SDEPA requires state agencies to assess the significance of environmental impacts when determining whether an EIS is necessary. The criteria for determining significant environmental impacts are outlined in SDEPA § 2-1-3.

South Dakota Codified Laws: The South Dakota Codified Laws (SDCL) are the official compilation of all the laws passed by the South Dakota Legislature. SDEPA is codified in SDCL Chapter 34A-9.

South Dakota Environmental Policy Act (SDEPA): The South Dakota Environmental Policy Act (SDEPA) is a state-level regulation that aims to protect the environment and ensure sustainable development by requiring state agencies to assess the environmental consequences of their actions and consider alternatives with less adverse impacts. SDEPA was first enacted in 1974 and is modeled after the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

State Agency: A state agency is any department, office, commission, or other unit of the South Dakota state government that has the authority to take actions that may affect the environment. State agencies are subject to the requirements of SDEPA, as defined in SDEPA § 1-1-8.

Toxic Substances: Toxic substances are chemicals or materials that can cause adverse health effects or environmental damage, even in small quantities. SDEPA prohibits the discharge of toxic substances, such as mercury, lead, or persistent organic pollutants, into the environment, as specified in SDEPA § 3-1-5(a).

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A Note to Our Readers: We hope this guide is a valuable resource in helping you better understand the . However, it's not a substitute for professional advice and doesn't cover every scenario. Always consult with regulatory bodies and professionals for the most current advice and project-specific guidance.