To the Editor,
Renewable energy is now cheaper than coal, oil, gas and nuclear power. Since October 2012, U.S. nuclear plant owners have closed about a dozen reactor units.
The EPA issued draft permits to Powertech/Azarga for a proposed insitu leach uranium mine in Custer and Fall River Counties that proposes to operate for 10 years. No such mine has been successfully cleaned up, despite sincere efforts. When the mining ends the pumps are turned off, and the heavy metals such as uranium which were loosened by the mining solution continue flowing through the aquifer.
Yes, in-situ leach mining occurs within an aquifer. In this case, mining would occur in the Inyan Kara aquifer via 4,000 wells. Waste would be injected into the Minnelusa aquifer. People are using the water in these aquifers!
Do we risk precious water for a type of mining that historically has depleted and contaminated water in exchange for a handful of jobs to provide fuel to the dying nuclear power industry?
Or do we think beyond 10 years, and reserve our water to support the sustainable economic growth that is happening in the Black Hills? The economics of uranium mining do not make sense here.