Newsletter Oct 1, 2015
Public Meeting on the Riley Pass Uranium Mine Removal and Restoration Project
For years we have been talking about cleanup of the Riley Pass Abandoned Uranium Mine and now it is scheduled for cleanup thanks to a lawsuit by Areva against Kerr-McGee who dug the mine and left it. A Public meeting will be held Wed. Oct. 21, 2015, at 7 PM at the Ludlow Community Hall in Ludlow, SD. For more info, a report can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/Internet?FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3855551.pdf
Now they only need to clean up the other 102 mines and prospects in that area.
Badlands National Park North Unit Buffalo Plan
The Badlands National Park is planning on expanding the buffalo area and is asking for public comments before Oct. 30, 2015. On the internet, you can comment at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/Badlands_Bison .
In writing, comments can be sent to: National Park Service, Denver Service Center, Sarah Conlin, DSC-P, 12795 West Alameda Parkway, PO Box 25287, Denver, CO 80225-0287. For more information call 605-433-5362, or mail your request to Badlands National Park, PO Box 6, Interior SD 57750.
Wind Cave Prayer Gathering
On August 1, 2015, a Prayer Gathering was held near Wasun Wiconiya Wakan also known as Wind Cave. The isolated place where we prayed has probably not had a ceremony there in over 100 years. It was unbelievably beautiful and an awesome experience. Our prayers again were for the protection of sacred places. The site where we prayed is slated for tourist traffic and will undoubtedly be desecrated and destroyed. Thank you to the two young women who informed us of what is coming, and to all who attended and prayed for all the sacred places. We will keep you informed as we learn of upcoming activities at this sacred site.
Crow Butte Uranium Mine in Crawford, NB
The Atomic Safety Licensing Board (ASLB) conducted a hearing on renewing the license for the Crow Butte In Situ Recovery Uranium Mine near Crawford, NB in August. I attended the Hearing on behalf of the Oglala Sioux Tribe as the Coordinator of Defenders. The results of the water tests we did of the 5 deep wells that provide water for most of Pine Ridge Reservation show radioactive contamination and is my main contention. The potentiometric surface map of the underground aquifers shows the movement of water from Crow Butte to beneath the Pine Ridge Reservation. The experts from consolidated interveners showed that the aquifers leak into each other. My main concern is the Uranium isotope ratio which clearly shows the contamination is coming from the mine. The ASLB has set a supplemental telephone hearing for October 23rd. Proposed findings of facts are due in November. A final decision from the Board won't be made until December or January, 2016.
Our concerns were also sent to the Oglala Sioux Tribal government with a request to be able to present our findings at their Tribal Council meeting in Sept. No response has been received to date. However, a group of elders from Oglala District are planning a reservation-wide Elders Meeting on Oct. 16th at Prairie Winds Casino where I will present our concerns. There is also another foundation, Veterans for Peace, who would like to help finance the filters necessary for clean water on the reservation. Thank you to Veterans for Peace for your compassion and concern. Thank you also to Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and Eve Marko for the donations to pay for the water tests.
The Abandoned Uranium Mines Remediation Act of 2015 about all the Abandoned Uranium Mines we have been proposing for nearly 3 years is still with Congressman Raul Grijalva's office. We keep hoping we have answered all the questions from his staff. If anyone wishes to help get this Bill pushed through Congress, please let us know. I think we need to go see him in Washington, DC, and bring our concerns about the radioactive particles in the air and water. That means fund raising and getting a delegation together.
There is also a national campaign now, called Clean Up the Mines as this Bill also talks about all the 15,000 plus Abandoned Uranium Mines and Prospects in the entire United States according to the Bureau of Land Management. For those with computers, go to www.cleanupthemines.org to see the mines in your state and for more information.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is now aware of the 15,000+ Abandoned Uranium Mines in the United States, and the 2,000+ in the 1868 Treaty Territory from a 2-minute speech I was able to give at their meeting. Last January, we sent a report, on behalf of the Sioux Nation Treaty Council established in 1894, to the Special Rapporteur on Hazardous Waste (SR). The current SR gave his report to the UNHRC just two weeks ago. It was a good report in that he consistently recommended that governments and industry must inform the public of the dangers in all forms of waste. His complete report can be found at the UNHRC website as document A/HRC/30/40. Unfortunately, he said he did not receive our report which will be sent again. I also asked him to come to study the entire abandoned Uranium mine situation in the U.S. He said he already had requested an invitation regarding other waste issues but was denied.
I and another Defenders' Board member attended the HRC meeting on behalf of the Sioux Nation Treaty Council and a presentation on our specific situation with the abandoned Uranium mines was also given in Berne, the capital of Switzerland.
Keystone XL Pipeline At the same meeting of the UNHRC, another report was given by the Independent Expert (IE) on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order. In his report, he recommended that certain legal questions regarding international investment corporations and States need to be submitted to the International Court of Justice. Again, thanks to the International Committee for the Indians of the Americas, I was able to do an intervention, a 2-minute speech at the Human Rights Council meeting. The plans for the Keystone XL Pipeline and also Azarga's plans to build an In Situ Leach Uranium mine in the Southwestern Black Hills met the criteria in the IE's report. That report can be seen at the UN HRC website as document A/HRC/30/44. If you wish a copy of the two interventions I delivered, please let me know. They can also be found at www.siouxnationtreatycouncil.org
Submitted by Charmaine White Face (Zumila Wobaga), Coordinator
Threatened Sacred Sites and Burial Grounds
(excluding the Black Hills)
1. French Creek & Cheyenne River Massacre Site
2. Burial grounds at Dewey-Burdock area north of Edgemont, SD
3. Thunder Basin Wyoming
4. Tipi Mahto (aka Devil’s Tower) in Wyoming
5. Paha Mahto (aka Bear Butte) near Sturgis, SD
6. Dear Medicine Rock near Lame Deer, MT
7. The Cave Hills and Slim Buttes areas near Buffalo, SD
8. Killdeer Mountains Burials and Sacred Site near Beulah, ND
There are many more cultural and burial sites in the 1868 Treaty Territory that need to be protected. This is a starting point for anyone wishing to work on protecting one of these places. Contact Defenders of the Black Hills, PO Box 2003, Rapid City, SD 57709 or go to www.defendblackhills.org for more information.
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