Their proposal, also known as the Silver City Project, calls for exploratory diamond drilling in up to 42 locations just north of Pactola Reservoir’s Rapid Creek inlet at Silver City, in Pennington County, according to the newly released scoping letter. “Tell the Forest Service what you think about proposed gold exploration,” Black Hills Clean Water Alliance urged in a public announcement supporting the U.S. Forest Service invitation to participate in the first scoping session. “Exploration leads to mining. Gold mining has a long history of polluting Black Hills water,” the local grassroots organization stated. “The Forest Service did not start tribal consultation early enough on this project,” it added. “Tribal consultation should come first,” it warned.
Jenny Gulch Exploration Drilling Project – Public Information Meeting to be held 1/16/20, 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. https://t.co/WeHwv29AQB— Black Hills NF (@BlackHillsNF) January 8, 2020
That obligation is spelled out in the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Protection Act, but various federal agencies’ failures to comply have ensnared tribes and taxpayers in costly ongoing litigation. Adherents of Black Hills Clean Water Alliance presented Mystic District Ranger Nancy Veres with a petition on March 28, 2019, calling for government-to-government consultation with tribes on the gold prospecting plans. “Tribal consultation is crucial,” the petition stated, adding, “Like much of the Black Hills, this area may contain loci of historical, spiritual, and cultural importance to Lakota and other indigenous peoples.” A comment form is available at fs.usda.gov/project/?project=57428
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