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South Dakota Resources Coalition Records

South Dakota Resources Coalition Finding Aid

A finding aid describes the collection and often includes an inventory of the containers.


Collection Summary


MA 27


South Dakota Resources Coalition Records


South Dakota Resources Coalition




31.84 linear feet [31 record boxes, 2 document cases]




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

Access note

This collection is stored off-site. Requests to view this material must be made at least 24 hours in advance. This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Preferred Citation

Name of item . South Dakota Resources Coalition collection. MA 27. South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.


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.

Contents Note

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.

The Administration series [MA 27.1] deals with the administration of South Dakota Resources Coalition. This series is arranged into thirteen sub-series: Annual meetings, associated groups, chair records, collected material, committees, conferences and workshops, correspondence, finance and budget, general, legislative files, membership, minutes and publications.

The Annual Meetings sub-series consists of minutes from annual meetings, board meetings and the various committees associated with SDRC. The minutes include agendas, minutes and other materials related to the meetings (i.e. sub-committee reports, programs, treasurer reports, etc.).

The Associated Groups sub-series consists of material from groups affiliated with SDRC. These are mainly organization membership files which detail each organization's membership status, current officers, and when membership had begun or discontinued. Some files consist of only one sheet while others are rather extensive including other related materials.

The Chair Records consists of notebooks of handwritten minutes. Most likely, these were notes taken at meetings to be used as a rough draft for the official minutes. These notes include items discussed at meetings and legislative issues with which the group dealt.

The Collected Material sub-series includes newspaper clippings, editorial cartoons, and miscellaneous guidebooks on administrative rules and drafting legislative documents in South Dakota.

The Committees sub-series includes not only committees of SDRC, but state appointed committees on which SDRC board members served.

The Conferences, Workshops sub-series consists of material dealing with several educational projects that SDRC either sponsored, co-sponsored or attended.

The Correspondence consists of correspondence between board members, legislators, potential members, etc.

The Finance and Budget sub-series consists of expense records, contributions, fund raising, with the bulk being treasurer reports and budgets.

The General material is composed of the constitution and by-laws of SDRC as well as its articles of incorporation. Folders are arranged in alphabetical order.

The Legislative Files consists of legislative reports, alerts, and a legislative manual. It includes lobbying material for legislative issues SDRC dealt with over the years as well voting records of legislators.

The Membership material is composed mainly of membership drive information, membership lists and renewal notices that were sent to SDRC members and their returned responses.

The Minutes are composed of minutes which include agendas, minutes and other materials related to the meetings (i.e. sub-committee reports, programs, treasurer reports, etc.).

The Publications consist of brochures and the SDRC newsletter, Eco Forum. It includes drafts of articles, letters to the editor, and miscellaneous items related to the newsletter. Also included are handouts passed out to South Dakota State Fair visitors.

The Subject Files series [MA 27.2] represents material for over twenty years of research the group has collected for lobbying on many issues, both the state and national level, which the South Dakota Resources Coalition has worked on throughout its history. Folders are arranged in alphabetical order by subject.

Related Resources

Determinates of members’ willingness to participate in a local environmental organization, Haigh, Tonya R.,
Theses (M.S.)—Rural Sociology Dept., South Dakota State University, 1998.
Call number: Archives: LB2385.H1245

Eco Forum: Newsletter of the South Dakota Resources Coalition
Brookings, S.D.: The Coalition, [197?]-
Call number: Periodicals/Lower Level: 574.505 Ec74

Key Words

  • South Dakota Resources Coalition 
  • Pressure groups

Container List