Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Daugaard confirms bargain with Barrick

Update, 15 January, 1100 MST:
Non-profit Spearfish Canyon Foundation is paying $750,000 to Barrick Gold Corporation for the property and giving it to the state government. [Black Hills Pioneer]


Today on Bill Janklow's idea of public radio Republican South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard confirmed that the state is dealing with Canadian miner, Barrick on property in Spearfish Canyon.

Here's some backstory:
Officials with Homestake Mining Co. have been considering selling two large parcels of land in Spearfish Canyon that would be given to the public and connected to land the state already owns. Altogether the land could form a large state park. Game, Fish and Parks Department officials briefed the public on the plan Friday at the agency's regular meeting in Yankton. Under the plan the Spearfish Canyon Foundation would purchase a 73-acre tract, which includes Spearfish Falls, and donate it to the state. [Associated Press]
Land stolen from the tribal signatories of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 appears to be going to a corrupt red state again.
The Spearfish Canyon Foundation would purchase a 73-acre tract that includes Spearfish Falls and donate it the department, according to Doug Hofer, director for the state Division of Parks and Recreation. The property was appraised at $1,225,000 but foundation officials are attempting to secure it for a smaller amount, Hofer said. [Black Hills Pioneer]
But a wrench has been thrown into the giveaway machinery:
A complaint of violation of easement law and resulting nuisance was filed Dec. 5, 2014, in Lawrence County by plaintiffs Kathy Romano, Chris Romano, and Debra Jilka against defendants the Homestake Mining Company; Arleth Land Surveying, LLC; Spearfish Canyon Foundation; Jerry J. Boyer; and South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks (GF&P). Todd Duex, closure manager for Homestake, declined to comment on the lawsuit citing company policy to not comment on cases in active litigation. [Black Hills Pioneer]
Todd Duex is the local representative for the Canadian firm. It owns most of the rights to water in the Northern Black Hills: water destined for the proposed Deadwood Standard Project.

Bill Harlan reported a previous swindle:
Homestake and its parent company, Barrick Gold Corp. of Toronto, have agreed to those terms, but GF&P Secretary John Cooper warned that if the state doesn't act, some of the most spectacular scenery in the Black Hills could end up in private hands. "Without public acquisition of these lands, it appears inevitable, that Barrick will sell these lands to developers that seek to build trophy homes," Cooper wrote in a letter accompanying his proposal. He argued that even Roughlock Falls could become privately owned, "thus locking out a public treasure." Money for the $3.3 million deal would not come from taxpayers, Cooper said. In fact, most of it would come from Homestake. Cooper hopes to use about $3.1 million that the state already has been awarded as compensation for cyanide and other hazardous substances Homestake dumped into Whitewood Creek for decades. The creek was named a Superfund site in 1981, but Homestake completed restoration in 1994, and the creek was taken off the Superfund list in 1996. In 1997, however, South Dakota and Indian tribes sued Homestake. The settlement established the Whitewood Creek Restoration Fund. The state's share of the complicated settlement was about $2.7 million, which has grown with interest to about $3.1 million. Cooper hopes to use that money to buy the Homestake land.
The State of South Dakota is suing the Army Corps of Engineers to determine ownership of so-called 'surplus water.'

Tribes believe that they own the water.

Attorney General Marty Jackley is engaging in legal sock-puppetry. By suing the corps over surplus water he is forcing We the People to pay for the clean up of a century of mine tailings and organic effluent that has saturated the banks of the Belle Fourche/Cheyenne River system then depositing many tons of toxic silt into Lake Oahe and the other downstream dams after 1962 now displacing many acre-feet of water.

Hidden agenda? The state has a $83 million dollar surplus but would argue it can’t afford to dredge and treat the dams so it expects taxpayers to do it. Ag and livestock special interests likely contribute the most poison crap to the system followed by human-based pharma/chemical toiletries.

Barrick Mining Company is on the hook for most of the worst shit: it's armed to the teeth with a bank of lawyers and lobbyists. The State enjoyed royalties and severance taxes.

During the Dakota Midday interview Daugaard described a process where Senator John Thune would just slip a bill into Congress that would swap public ground held by the US Forest Service with state property of equal value to consolidate holdings.

A cynical observer might wonder whether the state might offer to hold Barrick harmless for future spills from abandoned mine operations in the area of the exchange.

While tribes are forced to raise $9 million to buy their own land, the State of South Dakota can decide to just take it.

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