(Todd Epp – South Dakota Broadcasters Association) A South Dakota legislative committee recommends this morning (Tuesday) that the Joint Appropriations Committee consider a bill that would allocate an additional $13 million to the Sanford Underground Research facility in the Black Hills.
Proponents told the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee that Senate Bill 35 is needed to expand room for underground physics experiments. The money would be used to construct two caverns.
They said that the lab, nearly a mile below the surface at the former Homestake Mine in Lead, needs space to stay competitive with international competitors like Canada, Italy, and China. Proponents said the state was losing out on projects–and money–to other labs with more space.
One of the projects the lab is researching concerns neutrinos and their possible use in communicating with U.S. Navy submarines.
However, Morgan Gruebele with the Noem Administration’s Bureau of Finance and Management cautioned legislators about passing the measure. She said Gov. Kristi Noem’s budget priorities are for ordinary government needs this budget cycle, such as corrections. Gruebele said the Noem Administration has not budgeted $13 million for the project.
Nonetheless, the measure passed the committee on a 9 to 0 vote with a favorable recommendation. SB 35 now goes to the Joint Appropriations Committee for its consideration.