Gold mine project threatens area water
I strongly oppose the proposal by Mineral Mountain Resources to explore for gold near Pe’ Sla and Rochford in the Black Hills. Mineral Mountain Resources has stated that it wants to establish “another Homestake Mine.” Homestake polluted Whitewood Creek and became a Superfund site. Mineral Mountain Resources itself polluted Battle Creek in 2012 as part of its operation in Keystone.
This project poses a threat to Rapid Creek and Castle Creek, which provide water to local municipalities, including Rapid City. The project area lies very close to an important Lakota sacred site, Pe’ Sla. No drilling should be allowed without a cultural survey conducted by the immediately affected Lakota nations. Existing permits from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, including a water permit and an exploration permit, have been granted to Mineral Mountain Resources with little to no public notice or possibility for public or tribal input. This needs to change.
This project poses unnecessary risks to scarce water resources and important Lakota sacred lands. I grew up in Sioux Falls and my PhD research is focused on environmental politics in the Black Hills. I am concerned for the well-being of people, lands, and water I care about.
Lawmakers should refigure pay raise
The South Dakota House of Representatives passed legislation asking the voters of our state to increase state legislators’ annual income about 70 percent (actually a 66.67 percent increase).
First, state employees have not had an increase in their wages for the last two years. Second, the state isn’t receiving as much in income as previously anticipated. Third, if $10,000 is one fifth (20 percent) of the median household income, that means the median household annual income in South Dakota is $50,000.
South Dakota's legislators have two different sessions, one is 35 days, or 13.5 percent of 260 workdays in a year (5 days per week x 52 weeks); and in a 40-day session, which is 15.4 percent of a work year. If the annual increase is to be based on a percentage of median household income, then also apply the percentage of workdays as well, and that should yield an annual income of $6,700 for a 35-day session (again 13.5 percent), and an annual income of $7,700 for a 40-day session for each legislator.