Today is a very good day
Today is a very good day! The following article was sent by Board member, Harold One Feather, who has been fighting the uranium issue for more than a decade. He, along with others from Defenders, attended many hearings with the state of South Dakota regarding Powertech Uranium Corporation and uranium mining laws, where the treatment of the Defenders was abominable. Yet, neither he nor anyone else at any time lost their professional demeanor and self-respect. Harold's perseverance in continually sending research on many uranium issues to increase the awareness of these problems by the public, are now being talked about by many groups in South Dakota and is commendable. Thank you Harold, for all your great work!
We are thankful as well as for all the prayers to protect Grandmother Earth and stop the uranium mining off the southwest corner of the Black Hills. Although the process isn't totally stopped, as there are still two parts the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will still be considering, cultural sites for one, their recent decision helps slow down the process considerably. Powertech tried to bypass the SD Department of Environment and Natural Resources questions by getting the greedy SD legislature to pass SB 158, but now the NRC has stopped Powertech.
It is a very good day!
Charmaine White Face
Feds suspend Powertech uranium mine permitting
10:59 AM, May. 10, 2011
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has suspended its safety review of a proposed Powertech Uranium Corp. uranium mine in South Dakota because the agency wasn’t satisfied with Powertech’s explanation for how it will keep the mine from harming public health and safety.
Powertech USA President Richard Clement said in April that the company is temporarily pulling its staff away from the proposed Centennial Project uranium mine northeast of Fort Collins to work on the federal permitting process for its proposed Dewey-Burdock mine in South Dakota’s Black Hills.
In a May 6 letter, the NRC told Powertech it will be suspending the permitting process because Powertech was unable to answer public health and safety questions about the Dewey-Burdock mine.
The letter said Powertech couldn’t adequately explain how it would contain uranium production fluids at the mine site and keep surface water free of contamination.
“We believe that proceeding with the review at this time is not the most effective use of scarce resources,” because Powertech’s responses to the NRC’s requests for additional information about public health and safety provisions were inadequate.
The timeline for the Dewey-Burdock safety review and federal licensing has been extended indefinitely depending on how Powertech answers the NRC’s questions and the availability of NRC staff, NRC spokesman David McIntyre said.
Clement said Tuesday Powertech plans to respond at the end of June. Once employees complete their responses to the NRC’s questions, they’ll once again focus on the Centennial Project, he said, adding that he expects that to occur by the end of the year.
The suspension came just three days before Powertech announced Monday that company Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Wallace Mays has resigned as an officer in the company. Powertech had no further comment on his resignation, saying only that Mays will remain at Powertech as a director.
Meanwhile, Powertech’s effort to challenge new state environmental regulations mandating that it fully reclaim the groundwater at the Centennial site has suffered two major setbacks in court.
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Denver District Court in orders filed April 26 and March 31 dismissed two of Powertech’s four claims against the state in a lawsuit filed in November. The lawsuit was filed as a way to make a statement against the way mining regulators went about creating the new strict groundwater reclamation rules for in situ leach uranium mines, including the Centennial Project.
“This was an industry issue,” Clement said Tuesday. “Powertech is the only company that decided to stand up and make a point about the issues involved in the rulemaking.”
He said the manner in which the new regulations were written “caused us to put the state on notice that they need to have a more careful manner in which they represent these things.”
In the lawsuit, filed in November against the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board and Colorado Department of Natural Resources Director Mike King, Powertech alleged that the new rules, which Clement had previously called “fatal” to uranium mining in Colorado, are unreasonable and arbitrary.
The company claimed that the regulations violate the state Constitution because some lawmakers, including Reps. Randy Fischer and John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, wrote letters to the MLRB suggesting ways the agency should implement the law they supported requiring the state to write rules regulating groundwater contamination at the Centennial site.
The court dismissed that claim because Powertech did not name the lawmakers in the suit.
In March, the court released King as a defendant in the case because he was not personally responsible for taking final action on implementing the new rules. Only the MLRB has the power to implement the regulations.
The remaining two claims, that the rules are unreasonable and that the rules failed to comply with state law, remain in court.
“If it’s dismissed, it’s dismissed,” Clement said. “There’s nothing we can do about that. It will have no effect in Centennial.”
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