Mining laws need to be updated

I attended the first public discussions concerning heap-leach mining in the Black Hills. A mining representative assured us then, as Mark Bowron did in a recent op-ed on the Journal editorial page, that problems were impossible, yet Gilt Edge played out precisely as people predicted.

Today, the state is dealing with uncapped oil wells with tiny and irrecoverable bonds. Oil is a form of mining, and this mirrors the Gilt Edge fiasco. Political views aside, we all pay for bad businessmen who use our lax requirements to dump their responsibilities onto taxpayers. The problem is mine abandonment. It is not confined to the past. Even Homestake, were it not government-owned, would be filling with water, and we would be worried about it.

Mining is honorable work, but its laws are stuck in the 19th century. They determine long-term consequences, though Bowron pretends engineering is all. Even if it was, codes of conduct hardly ensure good behavior. If they did, doctors would never over-prescribe opiates, and the Catholic and Baptist churches would not be in crises.

Bowron needs more humility concerning his profession, its all-too-human practitioners, and the businesses for which they work. His kind of narrow confidence has gotten us into trouble for centuries.

Kent Meyers


Riot-boosting law unfair to public

For all citizens concerned about the infamous "riot booster bill," note that on Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Rapid City the federal court challenge to Senate Bill 189 will be heard. The so-called "riot booster bill" creates a chilling effect on people who wish to express their constitutional right to free speech and assembly.

South Dakotans and others who assemble to protect the water and land we depend on to survive are not “rioters,” “leftists,” or “eco-terrorists.” They’re people from across the political spectrum working to protect our way of life, including our top two industries, agricultural and tourism, our communities, and a healthy future for our children and grandchildren. 

The organizations and individuals who support this work are not “riot-boosters;” they’re a critical resource for protecting all South Dakotans from the worst effects of greed, pollution and extraction of our public resources for the benefit of a few.

Gena Parkurst

Rapid City

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