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Uranium mine likely disaster

Our military friends tell us a battle plan looks good until the first shot is fired. Then, they say, the unexpected is likely to occur, sometimes with disastrous consequences.

The proposed uranium mine near Edgemont presents a similar scenario. Despite good intentions, some unforeseen incident would certainly occur eventually, and the result could be long-term contamination of our water supply with a radioactive element, uranium 238.

In this arid region, the Madison and Inyan Kara aquifers are key to municipal water, agriculture, tourism and general prosperity. Short-term profits for a few investors (largely foreign) are not worth long-term contamination of our water.

The Board of Minerals and Environment will hold hearings on a large-scale mining permit at the Ramkota on Sept. 23. Historically, the board has pretty much been a rubber stamp for the mining lobby. The board should now protect the public interest of the many, not the mining interest of a few.

The mining industry has a sad legacy in the region. Our City Council has stepped up. Now it's time for citizens to speak up to the state. Come to the hearings Sept. 23 and be heard. Also ask Gov. Daugaard to protect our water.

Larry Beezley, Rapid City

 

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Don’t stir up the hornet’s nest

Only this past week did I finished my master’s degree at the School of Mines. Consequently I have had little time to assist the well-informed group of citizens fighting against Powertech, the foreign company trying to mine uranium in our aquifers. I join them now because to oppose this mining practice is obvious.

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The most preliminary examination of the peer-reviewed literature demonstrates that no in situ uranium mine has ever been successful in returning the aquifer to anything near the pre-mining conditions, but rather has left a toxic and radioactive brew in the aquifer adjacent to the mining area -- every time, no exceptions.

Dr. Rahn, who recently retired from a long career at Mines, and one of our nation’s most respected hydrologists, made the analogy of a hornet’s nest: There is no problem if not molested, but stir it up and you have big problems.

In situ mining works because the miners put the uranium, and a lot of other ugly heavy metals, in motion. These dangerous materials took eons to settle at the ore face, adversely affecting the water quality only in the immediate vicinity. But once set in motion, think radioactive hornets in your water.

Christine Sandvik, Rapid City

 

 

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