Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Rapid City Council votes for water security, and against uranium mining

Comments:  Come on people in Utah, CO, AZ:  Ask for resolutions opposing uranium mining, it will ruin our water!  Keep the Uranium Mining ban in VA, not needed, not wanted!

Council passes resolution opposing uranium mining, 

Rapid city Journal, 21 Aug 13 The Rapid City Council passed a resolution late Monday night opposing a uranium mining operation near Edgemont, saying it “poses an unacceptable risk” to the city’s primary water supply.

The 9-1 vote came after council member Steve Laurenti sought to continue the discussion until state hearings for mining and water rights permits for Powertech concluded.

“I will tell you that this issue ranks in the top handful of issues that have generated public concern,” Mayor Sam Kooiker said. “This has really gotten peoples’ interest and there is a lot of concern in the community, and I believe that people have the right to ask questions about this issue.” Kooiker encouraged Laurenti to join the rest of the council in its decision to oppose the mine.

However, Laurenti stood firm with his vote against the resolution, maintaining that more information was needed before he could take a stand against the operation.

The mine would draw up to 9,000 gallons of water per minute from the Inyan Kara and Madison aquifers. The Madison Aquifer supplied Rapid City with 60 percent of its water resources in 2012, according to city officials.

Uranium: Protect Water

Created: 8/21/2013 6:28:13 AM
Council voted on Monday night, 9 to 1, in support of a resolution stating the city's opposition to the in situ mining proposed for Custer and Fall River counties. Alderman Steve Laurenti, who was the only dissenting vote, offered an amendment to hold off on the resolution until after the permit hearing coming up in about a month, saying as an elected official, he has a duty to get all of the information necessary...
click here to listen : 

While this has been a month's long discussion with opponents appearing before committee members to expressing their concern, the issue has been before state leaders for much longer. Alderwoman Bonnie Peterson noted that legislators who voted this last legislative session to remove mining regulations were not present at the meeting.

Dr. Lilias Jarding, an environmental policy expert, said that uranium mining has a long-history....
click here to listen

During testimony there was talk of the South Dakota's long history with extractive industries, and how it doesn't have a good track record when it comes to reclamation.

Council shouldn't have diluted uranium resolution

August 21, 2013 4:00 am  • 
On Monday night, the Rapid City Common Council approved a resolution of “grave concern” regarding PowerTech’s desire to use water from the Madison Aquifer to do in-situ mining of uranium in the southwestern part of the state.

There were a lot of people at Monday night’s meeting to speak in favor of the resolution. There was one person, a lobbyist for PowerTech, who spoke in opposition.

Somewhere along the way, the resolution was changed from the resolution posted on the city’s website. The resolution was changed from outright opposition to PowerTech’s plan to a resolution of “grave concern.”

Those speaking in favor of the resolution came from many walks of life, including ranchers, farmers, physicians, engineers, businessmen and former miners. Most of these people were well-prepared and made compelling arguments against risking polluting the water from the Inyan Kara and Madison aquifers.

Council member Jerry Wright brought up the state’s abysmal history of cleaning up after mining companies pack up and leave the state. Council member Charity Doyle said PowerTech’s plan was “brilliant on paper,” but she noted that in practice, in-situ mining has “yet to be done safely.” PowerTech cannot prove in-situ mining of uranium is safe and consequently they were unable to obtain Colorado permits, she said.

“So here they come knocking in South Dakota,” she said.

She also noted many people from different backgrounds have testified in opposition to the process, while only lobbyists speak in favor of it.

Councilwoman Bonny Petersen pointed out that the legislators who passed measures to allow putting our water at risk, didn’t bother to show up to oppose the resolution.

Doyle’s comments on the issue were compelling and worth taking time to view on the city’s website.

She said while she appreciated the effort expended on the resolution, she said she would have preferred a stronger version.

The “grave concerns” the council expressed in their resolution were enough to have passed a resolution in opposition. Such a resolution would have sent a much more powerful message to the state regulators who will make the decision on whether or not to give PowerTech the permits they will need to start using our water to extract our uranium for the profit of a Canadian company.

From the resolution: “WHEREAS, due to the unanswered questions regarding the safety of the community’s water supply, the Common Council of the City of Rapid City believes that the proposed in-situ mining of uranium in the Black Hills poses an unacceptable risk to the primary source of Rapid City’s drinking water.”

What more could the council possibly need? If there is even the remotest risk of polluting our water supply with radioactivity, then the city council should be more than “gravely concerned.”

They should have had the courage to strongly oppose in situ uranium mining. And those legislators who weakened our environmental laws, should be voted out of office. And the sooner, the better.