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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at www.sdpb.org/statehouse

Lawmakers Hear Uranium Mining Company-Opponents Cry Foul

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State Lawmakers heard testimony from a Powertech mining company representative in Pierre.  The testimony favored a proposed uranium mine in the Southern Black Hills.

Mark Hollenbeck  an area rancher who is also a Project Manager for the Powertech Mining Company tells state Lawmakers that in-situ uranium mining outside Edgemont can be done safely.

“We have the radiological studies, we have hired every kind of ‘ologist’ imaginable from hydrologist, to geologist, to archeologist and we have actually spent more money studying this site that it would have taken to buy the site,” says Hollenbeck.

But opponents to the proposed mine say state lawmakers failed to hear the other side of the story.  They say when lawmakers invited only mining company officials to testify, they missed out on information showing a serious environmental threat to the area’s drinking water.  Dr. Rebecca Leas, a Health Education Specialist, says the science on the dangers of uranium mining is very clear.

“Citizens aren’t getting both side of the story.  Let’s get all the information out there and let the people make their own decision,” says Leas.

Leas says a meeting on the proposed uranium mine is planned for this evening in Hot Springs at 7 p.m. at the American Legion Hall.

Powertech is in the process of acquiring the necessary permits to begin operation.