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Uranium mine protesters Monday morning continued their crusade against the Dewey-Burdock project at the beginning of the state water permit hearings.

The meetings, held at the Best Western Ramkota in Rapid City, opened with public input by people who had previously signed up to give testimony.

Of the half dozen people who had spoken by 11 a.m., five spoke against the proposed Dewey-Burdock project. One spoke in favor.

Some 200 people had signed up to speak, though it was unclear Monday morning how many would actually show.

Protesters called into question whether uranium mining would contaminate water wells or that pollution by heavy metals could sicken animals.

Such pollutants could ultimately hurt "the humans who eat the meat the of the livestock" in the region, according to opponent Juli Ames-Curtis.

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Powertech Uranium Corp., the company proposing the project, has maintained that it will operate safely, without polluting the region.

Claims of contaminants were shrugged off by at least one Edgemont resident who has lived in the region, which was mined for uranium in the mid-20th century.

Bev Gehman said local residents have been drinking the water for generations and still aren't "glowing."

After the hearings are complete, likely in December, the state Water Management Board will decide whether to grant water and water disposal permits for the proposed in situ mine.

For more on the Journal's uranium coverage, visit www.rapidcityjournal.com/uranium

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