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Weakening mining laws is hazardous

As I read the article about the GOP change to the superfund law in the U.S. House of Representatives, I thought of the uranium issue here at home. Rep. Kristi Noem voted to scale back federal superfund law by shifting some enforcement authority to states. The bill (HR2279) eases requirements on companies to obtain insurance to pay for cleaning up their own toxic waste.

Our state Legislature, upon lobbying by Powertech officials, stripped the state of authority to regulate uranium mining and underground water contamination in South Dakota. So, who’s going to regulate and monitor contamination of our land and water? Powertech? And who’s going to enforce weakened regulations still in place?

Just days ago, a hazardous chemical leaked from a coal processing plant into a West Virginia water supply. The offending company did not report the leak that left a sixth of that state’s population without drinkable tap water.

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Powertech is requesting exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act to dispose of mining waste in our underground aquifers. Wow!

The surest way to prevent radioactive contamination of our South Dakota land and water is to stop uranium mining now. We don’t want it. Our country doesn’t need it.

Laurie Barnaud, Nisland

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