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January - 2013 Quarterly Newsletter

Hello Defenders,

My apologies for just now getting this to you. The flu really had me down for a while. We had our Quarterly Meeting on Sat. Dec. 15, 2012, in the Hall at the Mother Butler Center. It was a good meeting. The following are items that were discussed.

Comments to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission There is an urgency to this newsletter as you will find at the end of this message, a form letter to send to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding an application from Powertech Uranium Mining Company. Many of you know that we have been try to stop this uranium mining project north of Edgemont for years. They have proceeded now to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission stage. Please, immediately, put your address in the space provided, sign the letter and mail it. Make copies for your family and friends to sign. Better yet, if you want to write a letter in your own words, it would have more impact. Just mail it to the address on the form letter. It must reach them by Jan. 10th at the latest, not be postmarked on that date. So get it in the mail as soon as you receive this! It cannot be emailed.

National Guard and the National Grasslands Petitions Although Charmaine tried to schedule an appointment with Governor Daugaard, the Governors scheduler would not make an appointment. Another Director of another organization is trying to schedule an appointment so that we may present the Governor with our petitions to protect the soldiers scheduled to go into the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands next June 1, 2013. They will be subjected to high doses of nuclear radiation from the naturally occurring uranium in that area.

Recommendations were: to contact Representative Kristi Noem who is now on the Armed Forces Committee; to get a Bill going in the SD legislature; to hold a demonstration at the State Capitol in Pierre if the Governor will not meet with us; to provide dosimeters for the troops; and to put sensors on Pine Ridge Reservation to gather the data from the increased radioactive dust that will be raised.

Pe Sla Update The amount of money needed for the Tribes to buy Pe Sla was reached; $9 million. Thank you to all who donated whether it was $5 or $50,000.

Gold Mining in Spearfish Canyon and Keystone Gary Heckenliable gave a report on the Valentine Mine that was proposed for the rim of Spearfish Canyon. Because of a lot of citizen opposition, the Lawrence County Commissioners have delayed any decision on approval until after all the information is in to the SD Department of Environment and Natural Resources which will be next Fall, 2013. However they did approve 100 exploratory wells be drilled. Laverne Fast Horse also said he has filed a lawsuit asking for a temporary restraining order as the land in question is within the Treaty territory.

Secondly, Mineral Mountain Mining Company from Canada is tyring to do gold mining in the middle of the town of Keystone just below Mount Rushmore. There is local citizen opposition but there will need to be more information about the entire project.

Uranium Update Lilias Jarding from the Clean Water Alliance gave an update. The Water Management Board Hearing that was scheduled for Dec. 5th was postponed due to more than 111 people writing letters and asking for a postponement and wanting to make their comments at the Hearing. We will let you know as soon as we know when the Hearing will be rescheduled.

The other item was the comments to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission mentioned at the beginning of this newsletter.

Waste Conference in Chicago Charmaine gave a presentation at the 70 Years of Nuclear Waste Conference held in Chicago on Dec. 1 & 2. She handed out a draft of a federal bill for the cleanup of the 3,242 abandoned, open-pit uranium mines in the Region and all the other abandoned uranium mines in the country. Since that Conference, she has been asked to give presentations in February at a series of meetings in New England during the Walking for Peace for the People-for the Earth.The spiritual walk will begin in Leverett, MA on Feb. 16 and end on April 5 in Washington, DC. If anyone is interested, please let us know and we will send you the information. The Draft Bill will be pushed also during the presentations.

Black Hills Brian Brademeyer gave the following update. 1. The environmental lawsuit on the Black Hills Forest Plan was dismissed by the District Court of Wyoming. The suit alleges that timber sales and grazing on the Black Hills are jeopardizing the viability of native wildlife species, among other things. The Plaintiffs (all associates of Defenders, including Biodiversity Associates, Native Ecosystems Council, and Prairie Hills Audubon) have filed a Motion for Reconsideration, asking the Judge to clarify his reasoning in claiming his court did not have jurisdiction on key aspects of the case. Defendants-Intervenors have until January 9th to respond to the Motion, with 10-days after that for Plaintiffs to issue a final reply, so the Judge might give a new ruling by mid-February. If he again dismisses the case, Plaintiffs intend to Appeal to the Tenth Circuit in Denver.

2. The Forest Service has approved its proposal to pre-authorize logging activities on 248,000 acres in the Black Hills to contain pine beetles. Activities authorized include cut-and-chunk of beetle infested trees on 248,000 acres, commercial logging on 122,000 acres, accompanied by 96 miles of new road construction, and 160 miles of temporary road construction. Helicopter logging and cable logging on steep slopes are also authorized. Objections from environmental groups, including Defenders, were denied. The activities will occur over the next 5-7 years.

3. The Forest Service also dismissed concerns about its proposal to plant pine seedlings on 1100 acres of Jasper fire area, and is proceeding with this project to return these acres to the logging program as soon as possible.

LNI As the dates for LNI were changed to Dec. 19-22, we did not have a booth. Dec. 21 and 22 are sacred days for the people of the Oceti Sakowin (Sioux Nation).

Masquerade Pow Wow As we had many requests to hold a Masquerade Pow Wow, and as it could be an event to increase the publics awareness of many issues, Maryjo Farrington said she would talk to the OLC HeSapa Center Student Government and the HeSapa New Life Center about cosponsoring the Pow Wow. Sandra Little will be the contact for Defenders. Tentative plans are for Friday, Feb. 15th .

Raffle The Raffle was continued until the Masquerade Pow Wow planned for Friday, Feb. 15th. A new category in the Raffle was 40 tickets for $20 as well as $1 each and 6 for $5. The prizes are all art works including a Turtle star quilt for Turtle Island. If you want tickets, please let us know.

Next Meeting: March 16, from 1:00 - 5:00 in the coffee room of St. Isaac Jogues Church by the Mother Butler Center, 221 Knollwood Dr., Rapid City, SD.

Wopila Tanka - Our Deepest Gratitude Finally, our deepest gratitude goes to all of you who care about Unci Maka, Grandmother Earth, to put your actions where your concerns are:

To the donors who generously give to our efforts whether it is money, or food, or items for the raffle;

To the foundations who provide grants so we can do the work;

To all you activists who gather signatures on letters and petitions;

To all you individuals who put your name and address and signatures on letters asking federal and state agencies to help protect the environment;

To all you researchers who gather information so we can keep increasing the awareness of the issues;

To all the other organizations and allies who have joined in on the issues;

To all of you who pray for the good health of Unci Maka and all of us;

And most importantly to the Creator who made all this possible so that we could live and grow spiritually. Wopila tanka.

Submitted by Charmaine White Face, Coordinator


Monday, Jan.7, 2013 - Last day to mail your letter to intervene

in the Powertech Application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 - Hot Springs American Legion Hall,
Hot Springs, SD
6:30 PM Uranium Forum
Your presence is very important as Powertech will try to fill the hall.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed people can change the world ...
indeed, it's the only thing that ever has!"
(Margaret Mead)




Printed Address







Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules, Announcements and Directives Branch
Division of Administrative Services
Office of Administration, Mailstop TWB-05-B01M
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, D.C. 20555-0001

RE: Docket NRC-2012-0277, Comments on the Dewey-Burdock Project SEIS

Dear Ms. Bladey:

Please consider these to be my comments regarding the SEIS for the Dewey-Burdock Project to be located north of Edgemont, SD. These comments are submitted to help the NRC meet their regulatory requirements to insure that the Dewey-Burdock ISL Uranium mine may be operated in a manner that is protective of public health and safety and the environment.

First, the legality of the authority of the state of South Dakota and the United States Federal agencies including the Nuclear Regulatory Agency to be able to authorize a permit in this geographic region is in question. The entire area still is the legal land holding of the Great Sioux Nation and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations. Article 12 of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty made between the Great Sioux Nation, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations was never enacted so no changes were ever made to the Treaty. The 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty is still legal and binding as recently evidenced by the Lavetta Elk versus the United States case of 2009. The enforcement of one Article of a Treaty is proof of the validity of the entire document. The land in question is specifically outlined in the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty.

Further, a treaty made between the United States and another nation or nations, such as the Great Sioux Nation and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations is protected under Article VI of the US Constitution and the March 3rd Act of 1871, In this specific instance, the 1980 Supreme Court decision (United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, 448 U.S. 371 (1980)) which falls under a Fifth Amendment taking also reiterates the fact that the land still belongs to the Great Sioux Nation, and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations. Until this issue of legal land title is finalized, no actions of any kind should be taken in this geographic area without the express permission of the members of the Great Sioux Nation and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations. For any federal employee or agency to do otherwise would be a violation of their oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States and federal law.

Secondly, the geographic area that Powertech Uranium Mining Company plans to use in this ISL project contains innumerable cultural sites as evidenced in the SEIS. However, the explanation for the sites was taken from non-Indian experts and not from the Native American people themselves.

The people of the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations, as well as other Native American nations across North and Central America, consider the Black Hills to be a major sacred place. As all of these Nations also operated according to natural law for tens of thousands of years, there were certain areas in the Black Hills that were used to bring the bones of deceased relatives back to the Black Hills. In other words, the geographic area planned on being used for the Dewey-Burdock ISL Project is a place that was a cemetery.

Due to the potential for exploitation of this site, as many Native American grave sites were robbed not just for artifacts but for the actual bones, there is a great reluctance to state that this area is a grave site. There are innumerable graves, tipi rings, sweat lodge circles, and sacred places to pray located in the area planned to be used by Powertech.

For the above two reasons alone, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must not grant approval of the Powertech application for the Dewey-Burdock In Situ Recovery Uranium Project.



_____________________________ ___________________________

Signature Printed Name


Tribal Affiliation if Applicable

Mission Statement

"Defenders of the Black Hills is a group of volunteers without racial or tribal boundaries whose mission is to preserve, protect, and restore the environment of the 1851 and 1868 Treaty Territories, Treaties made between the United States and the Great Sioux Nation."

Speaking about radioactive fallout, the late President John F. Kennedy said,

"Even then, the number of children and grandchildren with cancer in their bones, with leukemia in their blood, or with poison in their lungs might seem statistically small to some, in comparison with natural health hazards. But this is not a natural health hazard and it is not a statistical issue. The loss of even one human life, or the malformation of even one baby who may be born long after we are gone, should be of concern to us all. Our children and grandchildren are not merely statistics toward which we can be indifferent."

July 26, 1963 upon signing the ban on above ground nuclear tests