Pulitzer Prize-Winning Newspaper Editor Art Cullen to Speak in Sioux Falls

Art Cullen, photo by Tom Wallace

Date: September 13, 2018

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Location: Mikkelson Auditorium of the Froiland Science Complex (113A)

Ticket Info: Free and open to the public.

The Center for Western Studies is excited to partner with Friends of the Big Sioux River in bringing Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer Art Cullen to Sioux Falls for a free lecture on Thursday, September 13, at 7:00 p.m. His presentation, titled "A River Runs Toxic: A Warning from Iowa," will take place in the Mikkelson Auditorium of the Froiland Science Complex on the Augustana University campus.

As editor and co-owner of The Storm Lake Times, Cullen was the recipient of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Writing for his reporting about agricultural pollution in Iowa rivers and a lawsuit filed by the drinking water utility serving the City of Des Moines against three county drainage districts upriver from Des Moines. The lawsuit contended that the drainage districts allowed farmers to pollute Des Moines’ drinking water source.

"Anyone with eyes and a nose knows in his gut that Iowa has the dirtiest surface water in America. It is choking the waterworks and the Gulf of Mexico. It is causing oxygen deprivation in Northwest Iowa glacial lakes... Ninety-two percent of surface water pollution comes from row crop production.... The solution demands that we quit farming into the ditch and over the fenceline.”

— Art Cullen

This case and Cullen’s skillful reporting and knowledge are highly relevant to farming practices and potential water pollution issues in the Big Sioux River and its watershed.

Peter Carrels, communications coordinator for the University of South Dakota and the USD Sanford School of Medicine and a contributor to the recent CWS publication "Conservation on the Northern Plains: New Perspectives," states, "The issues discussed by Mr. Cullen and the subject of the lawsuit are critical issues facing South Dakota and other farming states. Mr. Cullen's knowledge and courage have delivered him to the forefront of this important matter. His message carries meaningful, useful value to those willing to listen."

Cullen is known for his pointed commentary on issues affecting life in farming communities and downriver cities. His editorials appear in every edition of The Storm Lake Times, a 3,000-circulation, twice-weekly publication serving Storm Lake, a community of 10,000 in northwest Iowa.