indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Job Opening - Editor - Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Times
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe battles uranium mine

Filed Under: Environment | National
More on: native sun news, nrc, oglala sioux, south dakota, uranium
   

The following story was written and reported by Talli Nauman, Native Sun News Health & Environment Editor. All content © Native Sun News.

nsn-powertech.jpg
To protect water from proposed in-situ mining, supporters of Black Hills Clean Water Alliance, formed a symbolic human shield of Rapid Creek in Founders Park on April 12. Photo courtesy/Carla Rae Marshall

Oglala Sioux Tribe attempts to block Powertech’s proposal
By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News
Health & Environment Editor

RAPID CITY – As street demonstrations broke out over federal licensing of the first proposed in-situ uranium mining and milling in South Dakota, the Oglala Sioux Tribe faced an April 14 deadline to request a stay postponing the effective date of the permit.

Issued to Powertech (USA) Inc., the permit is a federal radioactive materials license -- good for 10 years of proposed operations at the Dewey-Burdock site in Black Hills treaty territory 50 miles west of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

A panel of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) “will hold a hearing to examine environmental and safety contentions related to the project later this year,” the Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff said on April 2, in announcing Materials License No. SUA 1600. The Oglala Sioux Tribe has the ASLB’s ear in a federal administrative appeal process to block the Powertech proposal on more than 10,000 acres in Custer and Fall River counties in extreme southwestern South Dakota.

The Rapid City-based Clean Water Alliance and the Consolidated Interveners (Wild Horse Sanctuary owner Dayton Hyde and neighboring rancher Susan Henderson) also have federal standing to intervene at the ASLB level against the proposal.

The board can rule on the stay motion at any time. “The ASLB does not have a required timetable to resolve a stay motion,” said Jeffrey C. Parsons, the tribe’s attorney in the matter.

The tribe is continuing to file motions in the contested case hearing to defeat the uranium mining proposal, he told the Native Sun News on April 10.

Also contacted by Native Sun News, the lawyers David Frankel for the Consolidated Interveners and Bruce Ellison for Clean Water Alliance said they would file for a stay to postpone the license’s effective date. Meanwhile, Powertech (USA) Inc. said in a news release from its Greenwood Village, Colorado office, its officers are “pleased” to receive the license.

Powertech President and CEO Richard Clement called the license “the culmination of eight years of planning and evaluation.” He said the “robust nature of NRC's licensing process also greatly facilitates finalization of Powertech's other Dewey-Burdock permits.”

This is the first permit the company has obtained since it began seeking approvals in 2009. South Dakota’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources twice denied the company permits for underground injection of mine wastewater.

Company employees subsequently lobbied successfully for the state Legislature to relieve the department of its supervision of underground water in the mining process, leaving the task in the hands of the EPA.

The federal agency will issue a public notice before the end of April, soliciting comments and announcing open hearings on the company’s applications for Class 3 and 5 underground injection control (UIC) water permits, according to a Feb. 19 letter from EPA Region 8 Water Program Director Sadie Hoskie.

CULTURAL RESOURCES, CONTAMINATION, AT ISSUE
The materials license in question allows Powertech (USA) Inc. “to receive, acquire, possess, and transfer byproduct, source, and special nuclear material.” It applies to an “unlimited maximum amount” of uranium and byproduct, such as vanadium, that the company “may possess at any one time”.

Powertech Chief Operating Officer John Mays congratulated corporate staff for obtaining the license, calling it a “success in achieving the company's foremost permitting objective.”

The license would require the company to administer a cultural resource inventory “before engaging in any developmental activity not previously assessed by the NRC. In order to ensure that no unapproved disturbance of cultural resources occurs, any work resulting in the discovery of previously unknown cultural artifacts shall cease ... until the licensee has received authorization from the NRC, the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Officer, and the Bureau of Land Management,” it states.

All entrances to the mining and milling facility are to be “conspicuously posted” with the words: "CAUTION: ANY AREA WITHIN THIS FACILITY MAY CONTAIN RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL," the license stipulates.

If the permit takes effect, it also will require the company provide the NRC with financial assurance “to adequately cover the estimated costs of decommissioning and decontamination, if accomplished by a third party,” according to the fine print in the license.

The assurance would have to be sufficient to “cover offsite disposal of radioactive solid process or evaporation pond residues and groundwater restoration,” as well as “costs associated with all soil and water sampling analyses necessary to confirm the accomplishment of decontamination.”

Powertech Dewey-Burdock Project Manager Mark Hollenbeck characterized the permit as a “significant milestone,” adding, “The community anxiously awaits the employment opportunities the project will bring.”

About 80 to 90 construction jobs could become available on a short-term basis, if the project goes forward.

Employment would taper off as the project matured over an expected 20-year span.

“We thank everyone for their contributions and look forward to completing the remaining permits so construction can begin," Hollenbeck said.

In Fall River County, Concerned Citizens of Hot Springs sponsored a protest demonstration against the uranium mining proposal at the American Legion Hall on April 11 during a visit scheduled by Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

“We think that it is of great importance to show the people inside, and the community outside, that we do not want to risk our water in this venture,” the group announced.

For the in-situ -- or solution -- mining, Powertech is requesting South Dakota water rights indefinitely for 8,500 gallons per minute of water from the Inyan Kara Aquifer and another 500 gallons per minute from the Madison Aquifer, the drinking water source for Hot Springs and Rapid City.

Clean Water Alliance organized a “Stand for the Water” along the bike path by Rapid Creek at Founders Park in Rapid City on April 12 to respond to the NRC staff licensing decision. “We oppose uranium mining in the Black Hills and understand that our lives, our economy, and our future depend on clean water,” the group said in announcing the demonstration.

(Contact Talli Nauman at talli.nauman@gmail.com)

Copyright permission Native Sun News


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Choctaw Nation Trial:
Former Choctaw Nation employee plans appeal in criminal case (11/24)
Choctaw Nation releases statement after guilty verdict in case (11/24)
Former Choctaw Nation employee found guilty after lengthy trial (11/24)
Trial on Choctaw Nation fraud winds down with final testimony (11/24)
Latest News:
Tim Giago: Cornflakes every Sunday at Indian boarding school (11/24)
Charles Trimble: A time to give thanks -- For whatever reason (11/24)
Native Sun News: Four from South Dakota win big at rodeo final (11/24)
Crystal Willcuts: Keystone XL Pipeline just makes the rich richer (11/24)
PBS: VAWA helps tribes go after non-Indian domestic offenders (11/24)
Chippewa Cree Tribe swears in chairman more than a year later (11/24)
Florida Supreme Court declines Miccosukee child custody case (11/24)
Editorial: BIA fails to resolve Cayuga Nation leadership dispute (11/24)
Mille Lacs Band grows economy with Oklahoma hotel purchase (11/24)
Faction of Chukchansi Tribe walks away from casino mediation (11/24)
Tribal casinos cancel Bill Cosby shows as allegations resurface (11/24)
Editorial: Poarch Creeks control their own destiny with gaming (11/24)
Editorial: Renew Class III gaming compact with Seminole Tribe (11/24)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux youth to join White House meet (11/21)
Obamas welcome youth from Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to DC (11/21)
House passes bill to address Grand Portage Band per capitas (11/21)
House Natural Resources Committee passes three tribal bills (11/21)
Chaske Spencer: Changing the narrative for our Native youth (11/21)
Winona LaDuke: No one believes in the 'black snake' pipeline (11/21)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Tax disparities remain in Indian Country (11/21)
ICT interview with DOI deputy secretary on Cobell buy-backs (11/21)
Oglala Sioux Tribe rounds up dogs after deadly attack on girl (11/21)
Leader of Navajo Nation signs bill for higher tax on junk food (11/21)
North Dakota tribe in negotiations for pipeline to curb flaring (11/21)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe passes language to new generation (11/21)
Little Traverse Bay Bands swear in interim leader after recall (11/21)
Blog: Play-by-play of election controversy on Navajo Nation (11/21)
Column: Theories link Thanksgiving to 1637 Pequot massacre (11/21)
Editorial: Work with Burns Paiute Tribe on land-into-trust bid (11/21)
Ex-employee of Passamaquoddy Tribe admits to drug charge (11/21)
BIA publishes notice of Karuk Tribe Class III gaming compact (11/21)
Oklahoma reports drop in gaming exclusivity fees from tribes (11/21)
Pala Band gears up for official launch of Internet gaming site (11/21)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux woman shot and killed by police (11/20)
Mark Trahant: Lakota honor song wasn't out of place in Senate (11/20)
Dog attack blamed for death of eight-year-old girl at Pine Ridge (11/20)
DOI issues status report on Cobell land consolidation program (11/20)
Greg Grey Cloud explains Lakota honor song after Senate vote (11/20)
Steven Newcomb: Disestablishing the doctrines of domination (11/20)
Sen. Mark Begich: Moving forward for the first people of Alaska (11/20)
Bill Richardson: Indian Country feels effects of climate change (11/20)
Smithsonian: Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 won't be forgotten (11/20)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe sues South Dakota over sales tax (11/20)
Morongo Band distributes 10K turkeys for Thanksgiving meals (11/20)
GAO report looks at tribal implementation of Adam Walsh Act (11/20)
FBI opens background check database to tribal law agencies (11/20)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.