Help us protect our state’s water

On Oct. 7, Powertech Uranium Mining water permit hearing begins in Rapid City. Powertech is seeking 551 gallons of water per minute from the Madison Aquifer and 8,500 gallons of water per minute from the Inyan Kara Formation, totaling 13 million gallons of water per day for 20 years to mine the toxic yellow cake in the Southern Black Hills.

Rapid City’s 2012 water usage only came to 11.35 million gallons per day. So Powertech would use more water per day than one small city. Unbelievable that South Dakota is even thinking of committing water suicide with this one.

In my opinion, Powertech will rape our grandmother with their in situ mining, sucking her life-blood through their yellow cake-contaminated syringes and injecting it back into her main arteries.

I’m praying that the God-fearing, good people of South Dakota will remember that water is mentioned in the Bible more times than hope, faith and hell (and it will be hell without water).

Please join us at the Ramkota on Oct. 7 at 8 a.m. to rally against this insanity of in situ uranium mining. Let’s protect our grandmother and her life-blood, because the Bible says so.

Carla Rae Marshall, Rapid City

Simple way to decide on issues

Today's political proposals are very complicated, often comprising many pages of documents, statements, studies and commentaries. Few of us have the time or inclination to examine each issue thoroughly.

Therefore I've devised a simple, but accurate, method of evaluation. If Republicans hate it, it must be a great idea.

A more utopian world would follow if everyone followed this procedure.

Terry Painter, Rapid City

Powertech could seek change in use

I must respond to the Jim Turner letter of Sept. 27. He states that both my wife and myself are greatly "uninformed" regarding Powertech's proposed permit application to mine uranium north of Edgemont.

Our letters stated that Powertech could change its water use permit. All they have to do is to ask for that change from the DENR within 90 days of their proposed withdrawal. There is no restriction per se on that change of purpose and Turner is almost correct when he acknowledges that the "state" needs to approve it rather than the DENR. How are we uninformed if we both say effectively the same thing?

Now, I realize this operation might bring in some economic benefits. At $65 a pound for the uranium, the per head economic increase is very little, but at the present price of under $40 per pound, the company simply cannot operate and the economic benefit is zero. In fact, Powertech does not even have the funds to begin the planned construction if the permit is granted.

The hearings of the Mining Board continue on Nov. 11 while the Water

Board hearings start next week on Oct. 7 at the Ramkota. Attend and learn.

Gardner Gray, Pringle

Negative consequences outweigh benefits

A couple of recent letters regarding Powertech and their proposed uranium extraction project published in the Journal caught my attention. Of particular interest was Jason Eatherton’s Sept. 27 letter. Eatherton would have us believe that the corporations involved in the extraction industry “like everything else in our life, will be driven by relationships and ethics.” His “faith” alone is enough to green-light a project that could have a long-lasting and extremely negative impact on people that call the Southern Hills home.

We are asked to ignore the long and shameful record of the extraction industry and their lack of ethics. Unless he means the ethics of profit at the expense of the public.

I’m sorry, Mr. Eatherton, faith alone is not a reason ignore people’s realistic fears. Their fears are far more grounded in facts than your blind faith that says nothing could go wrong.

I, and many others, don’t share your faith. Things can go wrong, things have gone wrong, and things will go wrong.

Those are just facts. We don’t feel that the potential benefits of this project outweigh the possible negative consequences. Simple as that.

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Jeffrey LaRive, Hot Springs

Kopp’s Forum article fact-challenged

Don Kopp’s Forum article, “Government spends billions to study science nonsense” (Sept. 28 Journal) shows once again his complete inability to distinguish fact from fiction.

Kopp writes, “The EPA’s environmental hacks are now going to spend $8.7 billion to repair the sound barrier.” He goes on to quote EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy: “We are proud to accept this … in owning up to the effects of our historical aggression with air speed.”

A few minutes of searching the internet reveals that Kopp’s information comes from a tongue-in-cheek column written by Mark Baisley. Baisley’s column continues by saying that “scientists and policy makers will together wrestle with the complex question posed by Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA), ‘What would be the impact on the environment if Congress were to statutorily raise the sound barrier?’ Could it tip over the island of Guam for example?” It’s entertainment, Mr. Kopp, not reality.

Astronomy, astrology, repairing the sound barrier — it would be easy to just laugh at Kopp’s foolishness and move on, except that he is a state legislator. If District 35 voters find his name on the ballot again, they should ask themselves if they really want someone as fact-challenged as Kopp representing them.

Dr. Donald Teets, Rapid City

Some mining facts we might agree on

What a fight over flushing uranium out of the southern edge of the Hills. According to the Journal, opponents didn’t make an impressive case that the project will drain regional aquifers or spread radiation far beyond the project boundaries.

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Powertech was exposed writing its own legislation to deprive South Dakotans of protection by their own state environmental agency, raising the question, why? In answer, similar projects elsewhere required relaxation of operating permits to match the pollution and depletion of local water that actually occurred once the projects were too far along to stop, with no reason to presume this project will be different.

Further fun facts we might agree about: all mine sites suffer permanent severe damage; people stay on the mine sites anyway, hello Lead-Deadwood; everybody depends on mined products; everybody says "Not in My Backyard," unless they are personally assured of a big paycheck for losing their backyard; few people will get paid by this relatively small remote operation, with those paychecks in doubt because fracking for fossil fuels, as well as fear of Fukushima, just dropped the price of uranium, hence the project is on flimsier financial footing than when first conceived.

Peter Hasby, Rapid City

Does Kopp not know article a spoof?

Does Don Kopp (Sept. 28 Forum) not realize the "EPA’s environmental hacks are now going to spend $8.7 billion to repair the sound barrier" is a total humorous spoof? Does he really not recognize what the sound barrier is, and as a result of the laws of physics, it can't be changed by legislation?

The original article on "$8.7 billion to repair the sound barrier," which can be found online, was fun reading once you recognized the intent of the original article was humor. Even if Kopp does realize the original article was a spoof, and intended his reference to "repairing the sound

barrier" as humorous, there are at least some who read the Journal who might not know that you can't change the sound barrier.

So folks, five minutes of research on Google will educate you on why the original article was intended as humorous.

Sharon Kirkpatrick-Sanchez, Whitewood

Palliative care aids cancer care

This year an estimated 4,570 South Dakotans will hear the words “you have cancer.” The numerous side effects patients experience as a result of cancer treatment are most effectively handled with access to team-based palliative care.

I urge our South Dakota congressional delegation to support legislation that would improve the quality of life for cancer patients by expanding patient access to palliative care. Palliative care is a growing field of specialized medical care that focuses on relieving pain, stress, and other often debilitating symptoms of a serious illness.

Palliative care specialists work with a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists to provide patients an extra layer of support. This type of care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and can facilitate better and more effective treatment.

As a patient advocate I’m asking Sens. Johnson and Thune and Rep. Noem to co-sponsor legislation that protects cancer patients’ quality of life through educating patients about palliative care, improved training for health care providers, and comprehensive research on palliative care benefits.

Through this commitment, South Dakota can be a leader in supporting a health-care delivery model that treats the person beyond the disease.

Mary E. Minton, PhD, RN, Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), Rapid City

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