This post concerns “Much Ado about in-situ leach uranium mining, Powertech, clean water, mine bonds, the environment and Bills.” No, not tax bills, not Mr. Bill, but bills of legislative import in South Dakota–the land of Powertech Potential Profits without accountability. Well, Lilias Jarding, who plays very nicely with the Clean Water Alliance of South Dakota, has a few activist proposals for the citizens of South Dakota concerned about the potentially nasty toxifying effects of in situ uranium mining touted by Powertech and their other foreign–and American grown–cohorts. Without further ado, please take a gander at Lilias’ list of not to be missed Bills.
From the cyber-desk of Lilias Jarding, Clean Water Alliance of South Dakota,
Senate Bills 148. 149, 150–and 141.
There are now three bills in the S.D. Legislature that we need to work to support! This is great news, but now the work begins. This message contains information on how to contact your legislators to say you support the bill and information on each bill. Please read to the bottom and take action today.
The first bill, Senate Bill 148, would return state regulatory authority over in situ leach uranium mining. This is the authority that was taken away in 2011 by the bill that Powertech Uranium authored. We are FOR this bill. We want the state to regulate this type of dangerous mining, not just some distant federal officials. And we want regular monitoring of the construction, operation, and water quality at ISL mines. Without state monitoring, this regular oversight will not occur.
The second, Senate Bill 149, would change the current law. The current law gives uranium companies 30 days to report environmental violations without any penalty. Instead, under this bill, the companies would have to report environmental violations within 24 hours. We are FOR this bill. We want companies who do this dangerous type of mining to be responsible for their spills and leaks. We want problems to be reported quickly, so that corrective measures can be applied quickly.
The third bill, Senate Bill 150, is the longest. It provides additional protections that: (1) require uranium companies to return water to baseline conditions after they mine, (2) let the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources determine if it is feasible to mine safely in a particular place, (3) allow a mining permit to be denied if the company cannot demonstrate that restoration of water will work, and (4) require full restoration of water quality after mining. We are FOR this bill. We want full protection from the problems that in situ leach uranium mining has caused in other places. The mining companies say they can mine safely and without contaminating groundwater. This bill simply holds them to their word.
These are important bills, and we are lucky to have strong supporters like Senator Bradford and Representatives Heinert and Killer, who introduced these bills and will work to support them. So please take a moment to thank them. And plan to support these bills by going to Pierre, when they are up for hearings. This could happen with only a couple days’ notice, so have your gas money set aside! We’ll help arrange carpools, when the time comes.
Right now, please contact your area’s legislators and urge them to support each of these bills. You can find out who your legislators are at http://legis.state.sd.us/who/index.aspx
You can e-mail legislators at http://legis.state.sd.us/email/LegislatorEmail.aspx You only have to write a message once and change the legislator’s name at the top and in your “Dear ___” line. If you have more than a few minutes, please contact every legislator and ask for their support.
We will be targeting the members of specific committees, as soon as the bills are assigned to committees. So watch for that.
Thanks for all you do. As usual, let me know if you have questions
Senate Bill 141
Here is another bill we need to support. It’s Senate Bill 141. It would increase the bond requirements for mining companies and would apply to Powertech Uranium’s proposed mine. The text of the bill is here: http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2013/Bill.aspx?File=SB141P.htm. Before they start mining, companies have to post a bond to insure that the mine is cleaned up, especially if the company goes bankrupt or leaves the state. These bonds are usually way too low. This bill would require a higher bond.
Please contact the bill’s sponsors — Senators Adelstein, Rampelberg, Kirkeby, Lucas, and Tidemann and Representatives Sly, Kopp, Hunhoff (Bernie), and Shrempp — and thank them for sponsoring the bill.
Please contact your district’s legislators — and as many others as you have time to contact — and tell them you support this bill. We support this bill because we want to be sure that the state’s natural resources are protected and that South Dakota taxpayers are not left paying to clean up messes left by mining companies, as has happened so often in the past.
You can write one e-mail and send it to multiple legislators easily. To e-mail legislators, go to http://legis.state.sd.us/email/LegislatorEmail.aspx
Thanks to all who have been writing legislators. Please also remember to spread the word to your lists.
And here is where you can find the text of each bill —