South Dakota uranium mining bills – all deferred

Over 20 people have traveled today to Pierre to testify on SBs 148-150. These three bills would restore adequate oversight to in situ leach uranium mining in South Dakota.

It is clear that the Senate committee is unwilling to stand in the way of development, even if it is permanently damaging and harmful, if it in any way prevents the “economic development” of the Black Hills.

Despite impassioned, moving speeches by long-time ranchers, experts, and lobbyists, the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee dismissed all three bills.

The reasons the Senate committee voted down these bills are, point blank, wrong. Absolutely, whole-heartedly, wrong. In voting down SB 148, excuses about lack of funding and expanding government were made. If our water matters, we should allocate the funding. People, South Dakotas citizens, are asking for this. We are asking for the oversight. It is not up to the legislature to tell us they don’t want to allocate the funds. An oft-repeated statement was also repeated by Sen. Krebs, R-Renner, that the state has oversight of the water issues in the permitting process, and that we have the opportunity to speak to against these permits in March. But permits are not the same as oversight. Permits are not the same as on-going monitoring. And permits do not give South Dakota the protection it needs.

It also became clear as the bills moved forward that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources does not have the best interest of South Dakotans at heart. Secretary Steve Pirner opposed every single bill – please call his office and let them know you do not appreciate their lack of oversight and their lack of interest in protecting our state: Ph. (605) 773-3151. On that note, when the DENR presented early in this session to both the House and Senate Ag. and Natural Resources Committees, the DENR was presented as a permit-granting, economic machine. The DENR needs to hear that we, the citizens, don’t appreciate their lack of interest in protecting our resources.

Please write to every legislator on the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and let them know how disappointed you are in their lack of action and lack of protection for South Dakotans. Also, please encourage their support for a summer study to examine mining issues in the Black Hills:

Sen.Ewing@state.sd.usSen.Krebs@state.sd.us
Sen.Rampbelberg@state.sd.us
Sen.Lucas@state.sd.us (He does deserve thanks for speaking to the need to have immediate reporting of issues in SB 149. Please thank him for that, and for seconding a do-pass motion.)
Sen.Frerichs@state.sd.us (He does deserve thanks for moving SB 149 to do-pass. He also understands the need to have immediate reporting of issues. Please thank him!)
Sen.Vehle@state.sd.us (Please thank him for his expressed concern about the water, and encourage his further consideration of a summer study to examine these issues!)
Sen.Rhoden@state.sd.us
Sen.Omdahl@state.sd.us
Sen.Otten@state.sd.us

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Comments

  1. Hmmm, is Senator Rampbelberg not from the district where uranium development is proposed? I think, yes, he is. Yet he refuses to take a stand to protect the water resources of his district and constituency. The DENR does issue permits but does not do much if any oversight once the permit has been issued. They have a record of permitting almost everything that is asked and do little in following up on anything. The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee has too much faith in the DENR and apparently feels it has no responsibility to oversee the natural resources of South Dakota. Dastardly conduct indeed!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Sabrina King at Dakota Rural Action was there and reports: […]

  2. […] Dakota uranium mining bills – all deferred, Dakota Rural Action February 7, 2013 by sking86 Over 20 people have traveled today to Pierre to testify on SBs 148-150. These three […]

  3. […] And lastly a fierce headwind from Pierre. Here are some examples (links) of what happens when legislative action is made without involving long term or whole systems thinking.  South Dakota state legislature on net metering and on uranium mining. […]

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