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Letter: South Dakota Gives up Valuable Water for Foreign Uranium Scheme

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.


  1. larry kurtz 2015.02.20

    I screwed up by not buying Azarga stock at .03 because it is opening today at ten times that.

  2. leslie 2015.02.20

    rapid city paid 500k-1million a pop for madison deep wells, 500k for rapid creek water rights legal/engineering/economics, storage rights in pactola/deerfield and ag land/water acquisitions are likely ongoing, so we can use these daily amounts into the future, since the 88 drought.

    dirtying pactola with power boats and effluent is not so smart. homestake/barrick ect still likely monopolizes upper rapid creek and the rest of the northern hills water.

    we give away water to the chinese as we take their money for green cards, on a state republican level. we act as chumps to the republican states attorney and sheriff, on a city level, charging one single philip idiot in a racist attack on our children in our civic center that we should rather be proud of, as we seek to rebuild it to keep up with sioux falls, denny sanford, rodeos and bikers.

  3. jerry 2015.02.20

    Thanks to Bolleen, Rounds, Daugarrd and the rest of the motley crew, we have the Chinese here with corruption money. They know full well the state of corruption here and they know that a few million here and there will bring great rewards. The crew here are nothing but Quislings and they continue to prove it day in and day out.

  4. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.02.20

    I'd be willing to bet that the Chinese crooks are putting ton use the knowledge they gained via EB5. They know SD is open for corrupt business. They know whose pockets to line in SD.

    Hmm. Kickbacks, bribes, and so on. That's how business gets done in SD.

  5. Paul Seamans 2015.02.22

    Members of the Oceti Sakowin (the Great Sioux Nation) have been working to protect our water throughout their history. In more recent times the Oglala have worked to stop uranium mining in the Black Hills and in northwest Nebraska. They have recently allied with the Black Hills Clean Water Alliance and Dakota Rural Action and are working to deny the permits needed by Powertech/Azarga. More public education is needed on this threat. Thank you Cory, and also John Tsitrian, for your part in this education.

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