County mining proposal a threat to area
The Pennington County Board of Commissioners is currently considering an ordinance to regulate sand and gravel mining in the county. Unfortunately, the proposal fails to protect the taxpayers against irresponsible hard-rock mining, such as for gold and uranium.
Hard-rock mining uses and pollutes massive amounts of water. The water cannot be restored to its original state. An ordinance should be in place to protect Rapid Creek and other water sources from depletion and pollution; shield human health from toxins created in the mining process; require companies to post bonds proportionate to the massive destruction that will occur to valuable land and wildlife habitats; and prohibit activities that encroach on tribal cultural, historical, and sacred sites.
The Black Hills have two superfund sites that are the result of irresponsible mining. Superfund sites are ones contaminated with hazardous substances and pollutants so dangerous that special expertise and funding are required for clean-up. Frequently, they have been abandoned by the companies that mined the site, snatched up the profits, then left residents holding the bag.
The taxpayers of Rapid City have just been subjected to a huge increase in water rates. We deserve a rational mining ordinance.