The big October blizzard gave Black Hills opponents of the Powertech uranium mining proposal an extra three weeks to prepare their arguments for their hearing before the South Dakota Water Management Board. Now Powertech itself has helped them gain more time to win their argument to the state that Powertech's in-situ uranium mining would be bad for the Black Hills.

On November 19, Powertech moved to postpone the next round of testimony before the Water Management Board. With opponents in full agreement, the board granted that continuance on Monday. This move mirrors a decision by the Board of Minerals and Environment earlier this month to postpone further hearings until both the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency have issued permits ot Powertech.

This wait-and-see is good in a way: the longer we wait, the more chance there is that Powertech will finally run out of money before it can win approval for its risky, ill-informed venture. But if federal authorities approve Powertech's permits, these delays give pro-business South Dakota regulators cover to ignore further protest from local activists and say, "The feds say it's o.k.; who are we to disagree?"

Powertech opponents, keep your briefs handy for the state boards, but now turn your fire to the federal regulators and Congressional delegation to let them know Powertech is bad for the Black Hills