US

South Dakotans see water request as indication polygamist group wants to expand compound

  • FILE - In this April 22, 2008 file photo, a log-cabin-style home is among the buildings on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ compound that has nearly 50,000 square feet of residential space near Pringle, S.D. The sect has applied to the state of South Dakota to double the amount of water it can take from an aquifer prompting concern by neighbors and law enforcement about a possible influx of members who are being displaced from a compound on the Utah- Arizona border. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)

    FILE - In this April 22, 2008 file photo, a log-cabin-style home is among the buildings on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ compound that has nearly 50,000 square feet of residential space near Pringle, S.D. The sect has applied to the state of South Dakota to double the amount of water it can take from an aquifer prompting concern by neighbors and law enforcement about a possible influx of members who are being displaced from a compound on the Utah- Arizona border. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this April 22, 2008 aerial file photo, buildings are seen on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ compound that has nearly 50,000 square feet of residential space near Pringle, S.D. The sect has applied to the state of South Dakota to double the amount of water it can take from an aquifer prompting concern by neighbors and law enforcement about a possible influx of members who are being displaced from a compound on the Utah- Arizona border. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)

    FILE - In this April 22, 2008 aerial file photo, buildings are seen on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ compound that has nearly 50,000 square feet of residential space near Pringle, S.D. The sect has applied to the state of South Dakota to double the amount of water it can take from an aquifer prompting concern by neighbors and law enforcement about a possible influx of members who are being displaced from a compound on the Utah- Arizona border. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this April 22, 2008 file photo, dump trucks move on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ compound that has nearly 50,000 square feet of residential space near Pringle, S.D. The sect has applied to the state of South Dakota to double the amount of water it can take from an aquifer prompting concern by neighbors and law enforcement about a possible influx of members who are being displaced from a compound on the Utah- Arizona border. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)

    FILE - In this April 22, 2008 file photo, dump trucks move on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ compound that has nearly 50,000 square feet of residential space near Pringle, S.D. The sect has applied to the state of South Dakota to double the amount of water it can take from an aquifer prompting concern by neighbors and law enforcement about a possible influx of members who are being displaced from a compound on the Utah- Arizona border. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)  (The Associated Press)

A request by the brother of an imprisoned leader of a polygamous sect to increase the water available to the group's compound in South Dakota is making landowners and law enforcement officers wary that the troubled church might be expanding.

Seth Jeffs, the brother of Warren Jeffs, says members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints need more water for gardens, orchards and animal herds at their Black Hills spread.

Federal agencies cite environmental concerns, and several landowners have moved to intervene. Law enforcement officers say the move may signal that group plans to expand, after a Texas compound was seized and Utah authorities evict members from an enclave in the Southwest.

Seth Jeffs declined to comment. The water request will likely be decided on in May.