Great Plains (IA KS ND NE MO SD)

"North Dakota’s Oil Boom Brings Damage Along With Prosperity"

"Oil drilling has sparked a frenzied prosperity in Jeff Keller's formerly quiet corner of western North Dakota in recent years, bringing an infusion of jobs and reviving moribund local businesses. But Keller, a natural resource manager for the Army Corps of Engineers, has seen a more ominous effect of the boom, too: Oil companies are spilling and dumping drilling waste onto the region's land and into its waterways with increasing regularity."

Source: ProPublica, 06/08/2012

Sand Dropped by Missouri R. Leaves Iowa, Nebraska Farms a Wasteland

"Mason Hansen guns his pickup and cranks the steering wheel to spin through sand up to 4 feet high, but this is no day at the beach. Hanson once grew corn and soybeans in the sandy wasteland in western Iowa, and his frustration is clear. Despite months spent hauling away tons of sand dropped when the flooded Missouri River engulfed his farm last summer, parts of the property still look like a desert."

Source: AP, 06/05/2012

Iowa Outlaws Some Undercover Investigations As Other States Mull Bills

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (pictured) signed the so-called "Ag Gag" bill into law March 2, 2012, making it a crime to obtain access to an agricultural facility "under false pretenses" — without defining "false pretenses." Does this apply to hidden cameras? Animal rights activists have often resorted to hidden cameras — and shared with news media photos and videos of shocking cruelty to animals.

"Animals: Iowa, First State To Criminalize Undercover Investigation"

"On Friday, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed into law a bill designed to thwart activists who go undercover to report animal abuse. This makes Iowa the first state in the country to pass such a law; Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York and Utah are considering them. Undercover investigations, including videos and photographs, are a principal tool used by activists of all stripes to document abuse cases and have led to legislative reforms, prosecutions and even facility closures around the country."

Source: LA Times, 03/06/2012

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