House kills bill to protect sacred mountain

Pierre, South Dakota (AP) 2-08

A proposal by Gov. Mike Rounds to protect the west side of Bear Butte from development has failed in the state House of Representatives.

HB1175 would have used $250,000 in state money, $344,000 in private donations and a $594,000 federal grant to buy perpetual easements from two people who own ranch land near the mountain.

The bill was abruptly changed to prohibit alcohol sales within one mile of Bear Butte, which is sacred to many American Indians.

But the amended bill failed 24-44.

Another bill HB1309, designed specifically to slow development in and around Bear Butte failed as well during early February.

The governor had wanted to prevent developers from putting biker bars and other noisy businesses on land near the mountain.