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Opponents of a proposed uranium mine near Edgemont hold up "NO URANIUM" signs during a May 2017 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hearing in Rapid City.

One day ahead of a public hearing in Rapid City about a Nuclear Regulatory Commission license for a proposed uranium mine near Edgemont, another federal government entity — the Environmental Protection Agency — reopened public comment and scheduled an October public hearing on several permits it is considering for the same mine.

The EPA said Tuesday in a news release that its public comment period will close Oct. 10, and the public hearing will be from 9 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Mueller Center in Hot Springs.

Comments are sought on two draft underground injection control permits and an aquifer exemption for the proposed Dewey-Burdock uranium in-situ mine near Edgemont.

One of the permits is for injection wells to dissolve uranium from underground ore. The other is for deep injection wells that would be used to dispose of mining waste fluids into the Minnelusa aquifer, after treatment to meet radioactive and hazardous waste standards.

The EPA is also proposing an aquifer exemption, to exempt the uranium-bearing portions of the Inyan Kara Group aquifers from safe-drinking water standards. The mine needs the exemption to inject mining waste fluid into an aquifer.

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The EPA initially requested and accepted public comments on the draft permits and aquifer exemption in March 2017 and held public hearings in the Black Hills. The EPA is now requesting additional public input.

At the close of the public comment period, the EPA will review and consider all comments received during both the 2017 and 2019 public comment periods and during all the public hearings before making its final permit decisions.

The EPA will also prepare a written statement that will include responses to all the comments received that are relevant to the injection permits. For more information, visit the EPA Region 8 UIC Program website, https://www.epa.gov/uic/uic-epa-region-8.

To submit written comments, go online to Regulations.gov under docket number EPA-R08-OW-2019-0512, or mail comments to Valois Robinson, U.S. EPA Region 8, Mail Code: 8WD-SDU, 1595 Wynkoop Street, Denver, CO, 80202-1129.

Written comments to the EPA must be received by midnight Mountain time on Oct. 10.

Separately from the EPA, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board will conduct a hearing at 10 a.m. today at the Hotel Alex Johnson in Rapid City about Powertech's license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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Contact Seth Tupper at seth.tupper@rapidcityjournal.com

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