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Lowe Opposes Uranium Mining in Black Hills; Wismer Still Studying, Despite 2011 Vote

The Custer County Democrats hosted a candidates forum over the weekend. Among the topics discussed was the in situ leach (or in situ recovery) mining Canadian/Chinese uranium prospectors Powertech/Azarga want to do in the Black Hills. Custer and Hot Springs have been hotbeds of opposition to this environmentally risky project.

Democratic candidate for governor Joe Lowe came ready for his audience. A Black Hills resident himself, Lowe said bluntly, "I will not support uranium mining in the Hills." He cited information from local press on a 2009 USGS report that found "No remediation of an ISR operation in the United States has successfully returned the aquifer to baseline conditions." Lowe says we don't want to be West Virginia having to truck in drinking water after mining operations pollute our groundwater. Lowe's firm, informed stance met with applause from Custer residents.

Then Susan Wismer took the mic. Lowe's opponent in the Democratic primary offered the following position statement on uranium mining in the Black Hills:

...I don't know enough about it to say too much of intelligence. I'm willing... I know I have a lot to learn, yes. What I've been told does concern me greatly. I can't really say any much more than that. It sounds like it would be something that it would make... I just hate to make promises without being, without all the information, so I hesitate to say I would, that there's no way, but, no, what I know so far, which really isn't very much, I would say I would be opposed [Susan Wismer, statement to Custer County Democrats, Custer, South Dakota, 2014.05.10].

That's odd: three years ago, Rep. Wismer knew enough about ISL uranium mining to vote for 2011's Senate Bill 158, a bill brought by Powertech to the Legislature to remove state oversight of uranium mining and hand that authority to the distant and understaffed EPA.

Here's the video, edited by the Lowe campaign, of Lowe's and Wismer's comments on uranium mining in the Black Hills:


  1. Rhino Lynn 2014.05.13

    I am really impressed with the two state Democratic Party candidates running for governor.

    Joe Lowe seems very dynamic with the impressive experience he has.

    Susan Wismer with her lengthy legislative experience is also very impressive utilizing her skills as a CPA in the details of state government and legislation.

    Both candidates have their strengths. After the primary do you think they should join forces in the General as candidates for Governor and lieutenant Governor? It looks to me that they could really compliment each other.

  2. Shirley Harrington-Moore 2014.05.13

    great reporting, Cory. Wismer appears to have been uninterested in the potential damage to our state. What a Wismer government would be like would be more like the republicans. Oh, yeah. I almost forgot: she did put on Facebook that it didn't matter which way she voted because she was in the minority.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.13

    Rhino Lynn, you do make a good point about their complementary skills. If such a union were possible (and that choice is up to the candidates), I would suggest that the better roster would be Lowe as Governor, using his dynamism and executive experience to play the take-charge leader rallying the public, and Wismer as lieutenant, working quietly, out of the limelight, using her legislative experience to craft and move legislation.

  4. Jessie 2014.05.13

    Wismer is still floundering and doesn't have the skills to communicate her ideas/positions. I remain unimpressed.

  5. Rhino Lynn 2014.05.13

    Shirley I can't vote in the Democratic primary and if I could my vote would go to Joe Lowe but Susan Wismer should of been prepared to make a stand on it since it is a very important issue for the state and especially in that region of the state. Being in the minority is one thing but to she could still show support to those opposing it.

    That's why I feel these candidates have their own strengths and weaknesses and wonder if they could be a combined ticket.

  6. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.05.13

    I am confused. Wismer was in the minority because she is a Democrat, or because she voted to hand regulation over to the EPA? Didn't the legislature pass 158, which means if she voted for it she voted with the majority?

    That is the biggest problem with our state government, be it, the Governor's office, the PUC or the legislature or one of the boards that regulate this or that. They can never quite get it through their noggins that their first responsibility is o the people of SD and to our protection of what we have, not to the big companies that would despoil our land, water, air and natural resources.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.13

    Jessie, we are three weeks from the primary. Any candidate floundering at this point should be thrown back in the water.

  8. Rhino Lynn 2014.05.13

    Cory that is exactly what I'm thinking if those candidates and voters are receptive. I hope I'm not taking anything away from either candidate since they are both gifted and are determined to make a difference.

  9. Shirley Harrington-Moore 2014.05.13

    Cory, don't know who will give this up, but I'm hearing from a legislator who is in the know that if a bill that will favor the working person/labor come up, Susan votes against it. There goes the Minimum Wage.

  10. Roger Cornelius 2014.05.13

    I stand with the candidate that takes an aggressive stand against uranium.

    Enough of the studies, if you don't understand the damage uranium mining does, you likely never will

  11. Rorschach 2014.05.13

    I have supported Joe Lowe for some time. Despite the low key nature of this primary, the differences in communication abilities and in confidence have become manifest. As much as I like Susan Wismer, she's not ready for prime time. I don't think she's ready to take on Gov. Daugaard or Lt. Gov. Matt Michels.

  12. larry kurtz 2014.05.13

    Please join me and send both Rep. Wismer and Mr. Lowe some money.

  13. Jessie 2014.05.13

    Cory said: "Any candidate floundering at this point should be thrown back in the water."

    Two ways to interpret that. 1) Reject the too small fish or 2) Make said candidate sink or swim. Enlighten me please.

  14. Rhino Lynn 2014.05.13

    Larry I believe this poll was limited to calling landlines. Either way we need to close the gap.

  15. larry kurtz 2014.05.13

    Good eye, Lynn: older respondents lean earth hater for sure.

  16. grudznick 2014.05.13

    The young Wismer woman is clearly smarter than Mr. Lowe. She just doesn't talk as good. She give you libbies an extra 2 points. Could be the difference, I'm just sayin...


  17. grudznick 2014.05.13

    What a hack job by Mr. Lowe. He's like the Libbie version of Stace Nelson. Shows his opponent out of context and with waving arms and incoherent speech. That's like a Madison school board election for gosh sakes. Bad form. Bad form Mr. Lowe. Show the young lady with a better camera angle.

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.13

    How, Grudz, do the responses to the question on uranium mining presented here demonstrate Wismer's superior intelligence to Lowe's?

  19. Roger Cornelius 2014.05.13

    It would be great to offer an opinion about Wismer's intelligence, but she hasn't provided very much information about herself or her campaign.

    She has a perfect forum right here on Madville Times to get her message out, but with only 3 weeks to election she has failed to do so. We have heard more from Republican candidates than we have from Wismer.

  20. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.05.13

    grudz, you must like to have women standing with their mouth wide open, like they are attempting to catch flies, saving this photo. I am sure you saved the one of your girl Kristi standing on the Great Wall of China.

  21. Monty 2014.05.13

    Grudz, you refer to Wismer as a "young lady" as if youth and inexperience would explain her poor performance. She is 58 years old, a member of the Legislature, and unprepared for a vigorous campaign.

  22. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.05.13

    Calm down everyone. Can't you see that Grudz is simply a sucker for a woman? Remember how he talks about the "pretty young doctor," referring to Bos?

    It's okay Grudz, you are welcome to give women all your support. Thank you.

Comments are closed.