Blogger John Tsitrian posted a complaint Monday calling out Azarga (formerly Powertech) for lying to investors in its public statements about the progress of its plans to mine uranium in the southern Black Hills. Tsitrian's Black Hills neighbor Juli Ames-Curtis issues her own complaint about South Dakotans' easy surrender of valuable resources to foreign corporations:
I am saddened over some of the sentiment in South Dakota regarding the mining of uranium at the Dewey-Burdock site near Edgemont. Some South Dakota citizens, despite being fiercely independent, seem willing to sell out to a foreign company. Azarga Uranium, formerly known as Powertech Uranium, is a Canadian company whose major shareholder and continued source of funding is a Chinese investment fund.
Azarga/Powertech is seeking South Dakota permits for 12.96 million gallons of water per day indefinitely. In 2012 Rapid City used 11.35 million gallons per day. The (foreign) company is applying for water rights for which they will not pay. If Azarga/Powertech were to buy the water from, say, Rapid City, it would have to pay over $1 million for the amount it seeks to use.
Our American water is very precious, especially the Madison and Inyan Kara aquifers in question here. How patriotic is it to trade our water in perpetuity for a handful of short term jobs? [Juli Ames-Curtis, letter to the editor, Custer, South Dakota, 2015.02.19]
For decades, South Dakota has traded its water and other resources for promises of economic development. Yet we seem as mired as ever in the problems of low wages, labor shortages, youth flight, and lack of revenues for schools and roads.
Just as Azarga exaggerates to its investors, we seem to exaggerate to ourselves the benefits of throwing our doors wide for outside corporations to exploit our water and land and weak regulatory and taxation systems. The corporations get the payoffs, and we get something less than prosperity.