In South Dakota in 2008, changes were made to Water Management Board Regulations to remove the requirement that that before an in-situ uranium mining company could get a mining permit from the State, it had to prove by demonstration that it could restore the aquifer it wants to mine to its baseline (pre-mining) levels of radioactive heavy metals, arsenic, dissolving agents, etc. If it could not, and technology still can't make it so, then a mining permit application would have to be denied by our State DENR. Click here for a detailed review of this South Dakota regulations and discussion.
In 2011, a South Dakota Senate Bill eliminated the DENR's ability to regulate in-situ leach mining in South Dakota. Read more here.
There were three bills in the 2013 South Dakota Legislature that would have reversed these changes, but unfortunately were not passed.
Senate Bill 148 would have returned state regulatory authority over in situ leach uranium mining. This is the authority that was taken away in 2011.
Senate Bill 149 would have changed the current law that gives companies 30 days to report environmental violations without any penalty. Instead, under this bill, the companies would have to report environmental violations within 24 hours.
Senate Bill 150 Would have provided additional protections that: (1) require uranium companies return water to baseline conditions after they mine, (2) let the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources determine if it is feasible to mine safely in a particular place, (3) allow a mining permit to be denied if the company cannot demonstrate that restoration of water will work, and (4) require full restoration of water quality after mining.