This means we all need to move into a very active time on this issue. To read the draft permits and other documents, click here.
Once people have looked over the documents and determined what might be some important points to make, we'll put out ideas on how to comment on this proposal.
Put the following dates on your calendar, and start spreading the word to your local media, to your friends, and to any organizations you belong to:
The federal government's Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) today supported the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board's (ASLB) 2015 decision in the case about the proposed Dewey-Burdock uranium mine in Fall River and Custer Counties by ruling that the process for identification and protection of cultural and historical resources was not done properly.
Click here for the full press release.
Recent research by two South Dakota School of Mines and Technology scientists and a scientist from California State University-Fresno confirmed what we have long suspected - that elevated uranium levels are present in Angostura Reservoir in the southern Black Hills. The study tested stream sediments along the Cheyenne River watershed from old abandoned uranium mines to Angostura Reservoir.
For the full CHEYENNE RIVER STUDY SHOWING ELEVATED URANIUM IN ANGOSTURA RESERVOIR press release click here, for the study, chick here.
Radioactive Legacy - the Rapid City Journal's Uranimum series shows importance of oversight:
Four decades after its first uranium mining boom ended, the Edgemont area remains scarred by unreclaimed mines, buried radioactive waste and health concerns.
The story of that first boom has gone largely untold and unreckoned with, even as regulators consider approving a new kind of mining in the same place.
Will the town fare better this time? Perhaps, if the lessons of the past are uncovered and heeded. Here, in five parts over the coming days, is the untold story of Edgemont's radioactive legacy. - See more at: http://rapidcityjournal.com/app/pages/uranium/
|On August 6, 2015 over 600 motorcycles and riders formed the world's largest motorcycle sculpture in Buffalo Chip, South Dakota on the 75th anniversary of the Sturgis Rally to honor veterans and call for the protection of water from uranium mining.The event was presented by the Black Hills Clean Water Alliance, and the Buffalo Chip and SpectralQ .|
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) ruled today that testimony presented by Dr. Hannan LaGarry should be made public. Dr. LaGarry's testimony covered geological information about water protection on the proposed Dewey-Burdock in situ leach uranium mine site in Custer and Fall River Counties. Government agencies require that the in situ process - which involves pumping water through uranium deposits to chemically remove the uranium - must be confined to the mining area to avoid polluting clean water.
Dr. LaGarry's testimony says "there is no reasonable expectation that confinement remains in drilled areas." His research showed that there at least 7515 old drill holes on the site. (In its applications, Azarga said that there were about 4,000 holes.) This means that, if mining was allowed, contaminated mining water could easily move into what had been clean ground water. There are a number of ranches in the immediate area of the proposed mine that currently use this water for livestock and human consumption.
Dr. LaGarry's testimony also says that artesian water, which presses up from underground and pumps to the surface naturally, is present on the site. This, he says, could pump mining fluids to the surface, "and poses a significant risk of unexpected, serious contamination of the Cheyenne River and its tributaries." It also dentified "numerous faults present in the licensed areas," as well as a sinkhole, which could also allow mined water to move into clean water. Azarga has consistently said that faults and sinkholes are not present where they want to mine. Much of the information that Dr. LaGarry used to create his testimony was taken from documents that included driller's logs. These logs included notations that information should be withheld from maps and from landowners, and some data was missing from the files viewed by Dr. LaGarry. The records also indicated that 13 of the drill holes that Dr. LaGarry looked at were plugged with wooden fenceposts, and another 6 with broken steel. Clearly, these do not provide permanent protection for the groundwater.
Read Dr. LaGarry's full testimony here, and the joint press release from Dakota Rural Action and Clean Water Alliance here.
THE SAFETY OF YOUR WATER IS IN JEOPARDY! HELP SAVE YOUR WATER!
The EPA found that there was contamination on the site (no surprise there). And it said more formal testing is to be done in 2015 to determine whether the site should become a Superfund site. This would require clean-up of the old mines.
Usually, the EPA looks for the original mining companies to pay for the clean-up. If they can't be found or don't exist anymore (likely), then the site is cleaned up by the federal government, when money is available. However, if the site is designated a Superfund site, it might make it difficult for Powertech to start more mining until the site was cleaned up. The company would probably still have access to the northern half of its project area.
A Black Hills Clean Water Alliance Press Release warns that the NRC has put the cart before the horse - they have published a "Final" SEIS - and chosen a final alternative for project design - before they have completed the cultural resources analysis. This analysis is required by law to be completed before this document was issued. The SEIS notes that the analysis is "ongoing." This relegates the cultural studies to afterthoughts, and necessarily limits NRC's ability to protect these important resources.
The NRC is accepting public comment on the Final SEIS in the form of limited appearance statements. You can make your voice heard - click here to learn how.
NOW IS THE TIME TO HELP PREVENT URANIUM MINING FROM HAPPENING IN THE BLACK HILLS!
Foreign companies, most of them from Canada, want to mine local uranium. Currently, the largest markets for uranium are China and India.
Uranium One, which owns in situ leach uranium projects in eastern Wyoming, is being bought by ARMZ, a company that is controlled by the Russian government.
At least four companies are active in the Black Hills area - Bayswater, Uranium One, Cameco, and Powertech.
In-situ operations run by Cameco have a record of ongoing spills, leaks, and water contamination.
Power Resources Inc., is a company our neighbors in Wyoming and Colorado know all too well because of their "inordinate number of spills" and leaks.
Powertech wants to mine uranium in a similar fashion HERE in the BLACK HILLS Region.
Thousands of old uranium operations have been left unreclaimed in the upper Missouri River basin, including about a hundred in the Black Hills. Modern uranium companies employ people who were involved in past uranium operations. Why should we trust them to clean up future operations?
Mining is, by nature, a boom-and-bust economic activity. Short-term profits for companies are followed by long-term pollution and unemployment in mining areas.
Current, modern, operating in situ leach mines have spilled and leaked hundreds of thousands of gallons of contaminated water, both above ground and underground. These leaks have entered both above-ground and underground water bodies.
In Wyoming, state regulators didn't issue a Notice of Violation to Power Resources, Inc. (now Cameco Resources), until they had two three-ring binders full of spill reports.
South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources has conducted completeness reviews for two versions of Powertech's state application for an Underground Injection Control Permit. The state has twice found Powertech's application incomplete. Its second review comments dated April 19, 2010 includes 107 general comments and violations of South Dakota Administrative Rules, in addition to the August 6, 2009 completeness review comments left unaddressed by Powertech.
There is a lot of money to be made.
The price of uranium went from $20/lb to $135/lb in 2007. It was the "new gold rush". Companies plan a number of projects in the Black Hills in hopes of a "nuclear renaissance" that would bring their companies billions of dollars and leave us with the mess. Are their profits worth your health? Our water?
In situ leach uranium mining must be done directly in a water-bearing aquifer. Water-bearing aquifers are where we get our drinking water from.
Water at an in situ leach uranium mine has never been returned to its original condition. Pollutants that have been left in the water at in situ leach uranium mines after "restoration" include toxic heavy metals and radioactive materials.
Just one proposed mine -- the Powertech Uranium project near Edgemont -- would consume over two and a half billion gallons of water during its lifetime. This is according to the company's own figures.
Radiation cannot be seen, smelled, felt or tasted. Damage from radiation is at the cellular level, with a higher risk to children and seniors.
Spills, leaks, mechanical failures and transportation accidents are common with uranium mining.
Ingesting uranium leads to bone, liver and blood cancer. Inhalation of radon gas causes lung cancer.
"The primary radiation health effect of concern is an increased probability of the exposed individual developing cancer during their lifetime. Cancer cases induced by radiation are generally indistinguishable from other naturally occurring cancers and occur years after the exposure takes place."
- Argonne National Laboratory, Dept. of Energy
The uranium industry would temporarily add less than 2% more jobs in the southern Hills and would take away from the area's main industries - agriculture and recreation. We need more clean long-term jobs, not short-termed jobs that will permanently harm our land.
"Although these 'in-situ' leach mining techniques are considered more environmentally benign than traditional mining and milling practices they still tend to contaminate the groundwater."
- U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2007
According to studies by the SD School of Mines and Technology, old uranium mines in western South Dakota are already contaminating our water. There are at least 272 old sites in the Black Hills, and the majority have never been cleaned up. Mining should not be restarted when the messes from past uranium mining have not even been cleaned up.
P.O. Box 591
Rapid City, South Dakota 57709
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead
After much research and investigation, we are convinced uranium mining would have dire consequences. Our goal is to prevent uranium mining in the Black Hills region and protect our valuable resources - especially our water - for future generations.