Large-scale gold mines threaten Hills

Ban large-scale gold mining in the Black Hills. I suppose this makes me a hypocrite after managing a mining company near Custer for 16 years.

The environmental disturbance caused by Homestake, Gilt Edge, Warf and the possible future large-scale mining near Rochford are drastically more destructive than a miner digging a five-acre hole in the ground looking for minerals. The five-acre disturbance can be reclaimed so a person can walk across the reclaimed mine and never know it existed. No so at Warf, Homestake or possibly Rochford. To produce a ton of feldspar, the disturbance is about five tons of earth or one-third of a standard dump truck load. To produce a ton of gold, the disturbance is about 90,000 fully loaded dump trucks. Multiple decades from now people will still be able to see the environmental impact of large-scale gold mining.

The Black Hills are a small and delicate geological event. Large-scale gold mining can turn thousands of acres of beautiful rugged Black Hills into a grass growing prairie. 1872 Mining Law be damned — Save the Black Hills for our grandchildren and ban large-scale gold mining.

George Kruse

Rapid City

Politicians make pawns of military

Government shut down. Civilian employee furlough. Military working without funding authorization. Training cancelled. Relocation moves cancelled or suspended. Core support services such as feeding, child care, direct personnel support suspended or minimized. Confusion. Misinformation. Loss of confidence. Loss of respect.

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Each day 22 veterans choose to take their own life. It's looking more and more that those in D.C. that view the men and women in uniform as pawns in their own twisted game of political chess own a large portion of the blame. Their party affiliation, sex, race, color, ethnicity and state matters not. Men and women who raised their right hand, swearing to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, have earned the "right" through their honorable service to expect nothing less from those 535 to whom we call "honorable" yet whose actions are far from it.

Will the military survive this latest "thanks for your service.” Yes, but the true cost will not be measured in dollars; it will be measured in tears and unfortunately in blood.

Kevin Ott

CMSgt, USAF (retired)

Rapid City

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