Home Meetings Meetings Nov 13, 2007

Nov 13, 2007

Defenders of the Black Hills

PO Box 2003, Rapid City, SD 57709

Report -Nov. 13, 2007


The organization has been growing much faster and much quicker than was imagined. Thank you to all of you who have supported these efforts. However, this requires a revamping of the way we have been operating. To achieve this, the Board of Directors held a two day retreat at Brian's place. As we are all volunteers, the only expense was for travel for a couple of members. The results were the continuation and expansion of work on the protection of the Black Hills, Sacred Sites, and the uranium issue with more active participation of the Board members.

Among the changes will be:
-no more monthly meetings or mailings; possible quarterly mailings. [Our last regular monthly meeting will be a Wopila (Thank you) on Sat. Nov. 24, 1:00-5:00 in the coffee room at the Mother Butler Center, 221 Knollwood Dr., Rapid City, SD.]
- Special meetings will be called as needed.
- The large April and September Treaty Commemoration Gatherings will be continued. Possible winter and summer meetings will be held.
- Information will be sent on the Internet which means more centralized, local information providers to assist those who do not have internet access. [Anyone with a computer and printer wishing to help with this, please let us know at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ]
- increased formalized fund raising efforts;
- development of satellite offices as funding increases.

Again, our deepest gratitude to each and every one of you for continuing to make Defenders of the Black Hills such a successful, all-volunteer organization.Wopila tonka!

Raffle: As we have had requests to again hold the raffle, and as we have received donations to be offered, Defenders will be holding their annual Winter Raffle. Among the prizes: beaded men's moccasins size 10, tipi lamp, tapestry throw, jewelry boxes, jewelry.For tickets, contact Garvard Good Plume at (605) 441-1254, PO Box 815, Pine Ridge, SD 57770.

Update on Uranium Lawsuit: Oral arguments were held on Nov. 23. The judge ordered Defenders attorney, Mario Gonzalez, to submit a written brief on the federal lands or interests in the area planned for exploratory drilling by Powertech Mining Company. The brief was submitted and shows the need for the Federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process to begin, but no final decision has been made at the time of this writing. Powertech has already drilled 60 wells as SD Circuit Judge Jack Delaney refused to issue an order stopping their activities during the appeal process.

1. Above Ground Detonations of Atomic Bombs in the Southwest
2. Abandoned Uranium Mines and Prospects
3. Abandoned Uranium Exploratory Wells
4. Abandoned ICBM Missile Silos and Radar Stations from the Cold War Era
5. Coal
6. Radon Gas
7. Current and Planned Uranium Mining

PRESS RELEASE issued Nov. 10, 2007


Organizations from South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado met in Rapid City on Sat., Nov. 10, to discuss their joint concerns about uranium mining in the Region. Citizens from four organizations are voicing their concerns about surface and ground water, human health, and local property values.

Defenders of the Black Hills and ACTion for the Environment are attending from South Dakota, which faces mining proposals along the southern Black Hills. The Powder River Basin Resource Council is attending from Wyoming, where exploratory and mining permits have been applied for in the state. Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction are traveling from the northern part of Colorado where uranium mining is also proposed near Fort Collins.

In all three places, mining is planned by a Canadian company, Powertech Uranium Corporation. The company proposes to use 'in situ' leach mining (ISL) which injects a dissolving solution underground into suspected uranium deposits. The solution dissolves the uranium and its radioactive decay products, as well as heavy metals. This radioactive solution is pumped to the surface. The uranium is then removed and shipped to a mill for concentration into "yellowcake." The water is re-treated and then injected back underground in a cycle that continues until all the uranium has been extracted. Reverse osmosis is then used to remove some of the toxics from the water, and the remaining liquid is either injected underground or retained in shallow ponds.

In Colorado, a Powertech representative said the company also intends to do open pit mining. Other uranium mining companies are currently active in the three states as a result of recent increases in the price of uranium.

"In Wyoming, there are significant questions about regulation and oversight of uranium operations," according to Shannon Anderson, Organizer for the Powder River Basin Resource Council. "Our organization wants the public to have a stronger voice in uranium activities and wants regulators to insure full restoration of mined areas," she said.

In South Dakota, Powertech has started drilling more uranium exploratory wells in an area where they already have 4,000 wells in the southwestern Black Hills. "It's already been proven world-wide that ISL mining contaminates aquifers that cannot be fixed," said Charmaine White Face, Coordinator for Defenders of the Black Hills. "South Dakota relies so heavily on aquifers for drinking water and livestock use that we do not need to add to the destroyed aquifer statistics by doing this kind of mining for uranium here. We've been in a drought for the last ten years and the last thing we need to do is poison our water," she said.

ACTion for the Environment is very concerned that South Dakota taxpayers will once again have to take on the toxic messes that are left when a mining company leaves as happened previously with Canadian companies. "The Board of Minerals and Environment should remember what happened when they gave approval for the Brohm mine. Now SD people are paying for that mess. Are we going to have to pay for a radioactive mess left by another Canadian company?" said Gary Heckenliable, Organizer for ACTion for the Environment. "Not only South Dakota residents but all the taxpayers of the United States are going to have to pay for this for many, many years to come," he said.

Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction (CARD), formed earlier this year in response to Powertech's proposal to mine in the rapidly-growing area near Fort Collins. "Of course uranium mining always causes some form of contamination. Water at in situ leach mining sites is not returned to its original condition," said Lilias Jarding, Ph.D., an Environmental Policy specialist with CARD. "Most people don't know that federal policies that subsidize the nuclear industry aren't just about power plants. The nuclear industry's largest negative impacts have always been in uranium mining and milling processes."

The four groups have issued a common statement:
"We want the uranium industry to know that we stand together on this issue. Whether in a rural setting or a populated area, uranium mining causes radioactive contamination. Past uranium sites continue to contaminate the air, land, and water. Any bonds designed to pay for clean-up of former mining areas have not been sufficient, and taxpayers have been forced to pay the bill. We call on the public and all elected officials to do everything possible to protect the water, land, and local economies from proposed uranium activities."

More information can be found at:

Defenders of the Black Hills: www.defendblackhills.org
Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction: www.nunnglow.com
Powder River Basin Resource Council: www.powderriverbasin.org

Charmaine White Face Lilias Jones Jarding, Ph.D. Shannon Anderson
Cell: (970) 412-1924 (307) 672-5809 Cell: (307) 763-1816

UPDATE: Defenders of the Black Hills received the Nuclear Free Future Award in the Category of Resistance from the Franz Moll Foundation for the Coming Generations and the state of Austria.
Charmaine traveled to Salzburg, Austria, and received the award. The cash prize of $10,000 for Defenders will be used to continue the work.

Dec 29th-Jan 26th

DM&Es Application for Eminent Domain Authority

Friday, Dec 29, 2007 is the new deadline to send notice that you wish to intervene, with Monday Jan 8th as the deadline for sending proof that you have status to intervene. A pre-hearing teleconference is set for Jan 16, 2008. Call 605-224-0461 or 605-773-6811 for details.

Contested Case Hearing about DM&E and Eminent Domain
Hearing Date - Friday, Jan 26, 2008, 9:00 a.m., CST, Courtroom #1 of the Hughes County Courthouse, Pierre, SD

DM&E has filed an application to the SD Transportation Commission to be authorized to exercise eminent domain for its planned extension of rail line in SD. The Governor, or the Transportation Commission must determine that the railroad's exercise of the right of eminent domain would be for a public use consistent with public necessity. The railroad must prove it has negotiated in good faith to privately acquire sufficient property prior to seeking eminent domain authorization.

Defenders of the Black Hills

Last Regular Monthly Meeting

Saturday, Nov. 24, 2007

1:00 - 5:00 PM

Coffee room at the
Mother Butler Center,
221 Knollwood Dr., Rapid City, SD.

The Public is invited.


1.Hear a Report on the United Nations Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples which recently passed the
UN General Assembly

2.Update on Uranium Issue

3.Defenders New Direction

Pot Luck Meal to follow

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