Large Scale Uranium Mine Permit Hearings Start Monday

Dakota Rural Action Calls for Public Outcry


Black Hills Chapter Members recently toured the proposed ISL mining site.
Black Hills Chapter Members recently toured the proposed ISL mining site.


A contested case hearing for Powertech’s Large Scale Mine permit application begins on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 10 am in the Sylvan Room at the Ramkota Hotel, 2111 N. LaCrosse in Rapid City. Dakota Rural Action (DRA) strongly encourages massive public attendance to voice their concerns to the SD Board of Minerals and Environment during the two-hour public comment period starting at 10 am on Monday morning.


“People need to come out and make it clear to the board that they should not risk the future of the Black Hills for the small, short-term gain of a few,” states Clay Uptain, DRA Black Hills Chapter Chair.


“If the board is taking actions limiting public input to 2 hours, it would seem they are listening to the industry and are not working for the people of South Dakota to protect public interest,” says Uptain. “We are very disappointed they are shutting the public out of this process.”


At the August 19, 2013 Rapid City Council Meeting, thirty people gave testimony to support the Council’s resolution of “grave concern” regarding the proposed project. Two hours of general public comment in the permitting process is simply not enough time for the people who did not elect to be parties in this case to address their many concerns about the 11,000 acre project, including waste water disposal; an on-site regional yellow cake processing facility; and wildlife, security, reclamation, and other various radiological impacts.


“The voices of the people need to be heard,” says farmer and DRA member Dahl McLean. “For at least seven years, state officials on our payroll have been reading and listening to this Canadian company’s proposals to obtain rights to our water. Members of the SD Board of Minerals and Environment need to hear what we have to say about a foreign interest coming in here to take our drinking and livestock water sources to use in this mining process.”


Kara Hagen, owner of the FlatIron Historic Sandstone Inn in Hot Springs and DRA member, urges people to show up and take a stand. “If we don’t take a stand now, then when?” asks Hagen, “When it’s too late? Are you willing to take any chances or risk the future of the Black Hills and the purity and supply of our water?”


Hearings for the Large Scale Mine permit take place September 23-27 and will continue November 11-15. Hearings for Water Rights and disposal start the week of October 7-11 and continue October 28-November 2. Additional public comment will not be allowed during the water permit hearings.


Those opposing the project are encouraged to wear yellow to the hearings and come to show support even if not planning to make public comment. People are also invited to the free “Keep our Water Clean and our Hills Green” Benefit Concert and Rally on Sunday, September 22 from 2 to 6 pm at the Dahl Arts Center, Rapid City.


The Black Hills Chapter is a community-based affiliate of Dakota Rural Action members. The Black Hills Chapter organizes around local food, community, renewable energy, natural resources, sustainable agriculture and land preservation issues.