FUTURE OF GREAT PLAINS WATER EXAMINED- GOV'T HEARING ON URANIUM MINE PERMIT RENEWAL
CONTACT: Vic Camp, Owe Aku (605) 407-8301 20 AUGUST 2015, 20 AUGUST 2015 The Nuclear Regulatory Commission Atomic Safety and Licensing Board will hold a hearing Aug. 24-28th 2015 in Crawford, Nebraska on challenges to the license renewal for Cameco's Crow Butte uranium recovery facility near Crawford. The board is the independent body within the NRC that conducts adjudicatory hearings and renders decisions on legal challenges to licensing actions.
After a ten-year battle to stop the uranium mine from renewing and expanding it's operations, experts and lawyers representing local residents, Native Americans, the Western Nebraska Resources Council and the Oglala Sioux Tribe will have their opportunity to testify in front of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The plaintiffs intervened in 2008 to stop the uranium mining permit renewal. Evidence presented will address contentions which challenge, among other things: the adequacy of the evaluation and protection of historical resources at the site, impact on Native sacred sites and the NRC's analysis of the facility's impacts on surface water, groundwater, and the ecosystem.
The board will hear arguments on four technical contentions and five related to the environmental review. The NRC renewed the facility license in 2014 in advance of the hearing, with an expiration date of Nov. 5, 2024.
DATES: 8/24-8/28/15 FROM 9:30- 6:00 PM or until all evidence is heard LOCATION: Crawford Community Center, 1005 1st St., in Crawford, Nebraska Debra White Plume, a Lakota grandmother, Director of Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way) and lead plaintiff says: Indeed, this environmental issue truly goes beyond the boundaries of race, county lines, townships, state borders -- it effects all of life in this area, and can reach far into the future generations of all living things: the two-legged, the four-legged, the winged, the standing silent nation (plants), those that crawl and swim, and our Sacred Water, Sacred Land, and Sacred Air. For the Lakota Oyate (Lakota People) a clean environment is a matter of life and death. To expose our people to the deadly toxins of uranium mining is a threat to our survival as a people… this is environmental racism."
Colleen Bennan, local resident and Sisterhood Water Watch co-founder says: I was born in Dawes County, raised in rural Sioux County. Crawford is my hometown. I live in Chadron today, just 24 miles down the road. I still have family and friends there. I don't feel unsafe in my little town. I walk with intention, my head is up, my eyes and ears are open. I oppose this foreign company and its practices. I am not afraid. I welcome anyone to come spend time with open minds." Members of the public and media are welcome to observe the evidentiary hearing, but testimony will be limited to the parties, lawyers and witnesses. Arrive at least 15 minutes early for security screening. Videotaping is not permitted inside, but plaintiffs, community members, local residents and others working to stop uranium mining in the region will be available for interviews outside. Additional information follows. Some believe that re-configuring the character of the pristine Black Hills by dotting it with uranium mining operations is good for South Dakota. Many don't.
"Some have thought the foreign company (Azarga/Powertech, known simply as Powertech here) with offices in Vancouver and Hong Kong is a sound investment. Many, many, many have learned the hard way that it isn't.
Among them were those who bought the stock at better than $4 per share in '07. Then there was that bunch who thought they were stealing it for $1.50 per share in '08. And let's not forget those buyers who paid 50 cents per share between '09 and '11. What they think now that Powertech stock is trading at 6 cents per share is probably unprintable here.
That the company has destroyed a lot of investor equity over the years is a matter of record. That its persistent pursuit of permits to start its water-based in situ uranium recovery venture in the Black Hills has been the basis for the company's claims of better times ahead is obvious. That some believe the effort is really a calculated maneuver to do nothing more than drive up the price of Powertech stock is a reasonable conclusion.
This company lives in the "penny stocks" world, which is so loaded with disclaimers and warnings that most serious investors shun them. NASDAQ itself issues a rather stern and unequivocal warning about these companies, which include stocks like Powertech, that can't even be bought through conventional means. Ask your brokers about the much-disdained "pink sheet" list of stocks.
And why does the conclusion that Powertech's main goal is to drive up the price of its stock by blowing smoke about the company's expectations seem reasonable? Well, you have to look at the global market for uranium itself, which collapsed after the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster a few years ago. The price has fallen by more than half, which dealt a sharp blow to Powertech's prospects.
One local analyst tells me that the price of uranium is below the cost of mining it in the Black Hills. If correct, then Powertech's reason to exist is all about getting some sort of a bounce in the price of its stock, which calls for a full frontal public relations assault by the company's touts.
Dr. Lilias Jarding of Rapid City has been so incensed by the company's efforts at doing so that she just fired off a letter to Canada's Securities Commission, complaining about the company's misstatements, which she believes are intended to mislead both the general public and potential investors in Powertech stock. I think her concerns have merit, and I hope Canadian regulators look into it. Please spread the word to individuals, organizations, libraries or universities to help bring the film to new audiences. We are excited to be on the road with Crying Earth Rise Up and to share it with those working on water protection and energy policy issues.
"I think everyone is America needs to watch this documentary and ask why uranium is still mined? Excellent work you've done bringing this issue to a much broader light." -comment from PBS viewer