Black Hills residents are waging war against Powertech's water-contaminating uranium mine aspirations on at least three fronts.
Black Hills uranium mining booster Mark Hollenbeck got free shots before the House Ag and Natural Resources last week. Now he gets to make his Canadian employer's pitch in front of Senate Ag and Natural Resources tomorrow (Thursday, January 17) at 10:00 a.m. Naturally, the "Powertech update" agenda item appears to be another entirely one-sided sales pitch for the private foreign corporation that wants to contaminate billions of gallons of our water to dig up and export uranium in Custer and Fall River counties. If you want committee chair Shantel Krebs and her fellow committee members to benefit from the opinion of South Dakotans more interested in protecting natural resources than boosting Canadian profits, I encourage you to e-mail them your comments.
Hollenbeck's free shots before the Legislature are interesting, given that Powertech's boosters haven't floated any legislation yet this year. Powertech seems to be engaging in a full-court PR press to beat back any legislation that might hamper its destructive urges.
Enter the Clean Water Alliance, which is trying to resurrect legislation that would restore the regulatory authority Department of Environment and Natural Resources that our Powertech-friendly Legislature struck in 2011. The CWA is lobbying Senator Stanford Adelstein (R-32/Rapid City) to sponsor the legislation. Senator Adelstein has shown signs of striking a reasonable balance between mining and environmental interests in the Black Hills; he'd be a good person to bring this legislation to the Senate floor. Send Senator Adelstein an e-mail, and tell him to sign the sponsor line on the CWA's proposed uranium legislation.
The Clean Water Alliance and other concerned citizens are also battling Powertech's pollution potential at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The next big deadline is this Friday, January 18, by which date citizens wishing to speak at the hearing on Powertech's Groundwater Discharge Plan must submit formal letters requesting intervenor status. Some fellow Black Hills water-drinkers offer the following text you can send to DENR if you'd like to speak up against the idea of spraying toxic wastewater over a thousand acres of fire-prone Black Hills land and setting the Cheyenne River watershed aglow:
January 16, 2013
South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Ground Water Quality Program
Joe Foss Building
523 E. Capitol
Pierre, SD 57501
RE: Application for a Ground Water Discharge Plan filed by Powertech Uranium
Dear Mr. Hicks:
I am requesting that a contested case be initiated in the above matter and that I be admitted as an intervenor in the above application. I am concerned about this application because I am interested in water quality, land use, and wildlife in western South Dakota. I oppose this application.
I request that the deadline for filing petitions to initiate a contested case in this matter, currently scheduled for January 18, 2013, be extended until February 1, 2013, to allow full public participation, as the Notice was published during the holidays.
Please keep me informed of all proceedings and documents related to this application.
Address (street, city, state)
cc: Powertech (USA) Inc.
c/o Richard Blubaugh
5575 DTC Parkway, Suite 140
Greenwood Village, CO. 80111
Note that if you want to obtain intervenor status before the DENR, you need to send copies of this letter to DENR and Powertech.
Letting Powertech deplete our water supply and squirt uranium out of the Black Hills is a big deal and deserves more public conversation than slick corporate slideshows. If you like the Black Hills and drinking water, you should help our legislators and regulators hear all sides of the issue.