Monday, February 1, 2016

WOTUS: EPA announces justice for 2015 crimes against the Earth

South Dakota is no stranger to ecocide: it's a way of life in the chemical toilet.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has released its 2015 environmental justice actions against offenders two cases stand out: Tronox, Inc. at the North Cave Hills/Flat Top Mine Sites and a criminal action against a City of Pierre employee.
Protests against a wastewater injection well in far northwestern Nebraska last year garnered widespread attention, and now three bills have been introduced in the Nebraska Legislature to alter how the state’s Oil and Gas Commission does business. Unlike in South Dakota, where laws are generally welcoming to new mining and mining-related industries, the proposed Nebraska legislation would encourage the commission to give more scrutiny to future project proposals, require more complete data submission by mining companies, and allow more public access to the projects, data and the approval process.
Read the rest here.

In a newly-completed study 78 percent of groundwater samples found with unsafe concentrations of uranium were also contaminated with nitrates from industrial agriculture.
The researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln estimate that nearly 2 million people in California and the Great Plains live over groundwater that has been contaminated with uranium, which can cause health problems. Data from roughly 275,000 samples from two of the nation's largest aquifers — the High Plains aquifer and the Central Valley aquifer in California — were examined for the study. Those two underground stockpiles supply water for irrigation and many communities rely on the aquifers for drinking water. The High Plains Aquifer stretches underneath some 174,000 square miles in parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. [Mitchell Daily Republic]
At Crow Butte near the headwaters of the White River above Crawford, Nebraska Canadian-based Cameco, Inc. has obtained rights to use 9,000 gallons of water per minute to extract raw uranium ore through 8,000 holes bored into the Ogallala and Arikaree Aquifers.

The foreign miners have already pumped about half a billion gallons of radioactive waste water into disposal wells and have rights to bury more. Two years ago Cameco, the world’s largest uranium producer, paid a million dollar fine for environmental damage in Wyoming.
In 2011, the total water stored in the aquifer was about 2.96 billion acre-feet, an overall decline of about 246 million acre-feet (or 8 percent) since pre-development. Change in water in storage from 2009 to 2011 was an overall decline of 2.8 million acre-feet. The overall average water-level decline in the aquifer was 14.2 feet from pre-development to 2011, and 0.1 foot from 2009 to 2011.
The High Plains Aquifer, also known as the Ogallala Aquifer, underlies about 112 million acres (175,000 square miles) in parts of eight states Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. The USGS, at the request of the U.S. Congress, has published reports on water-level changes in the High Plains Aquifer since 1988. Congress requested these reports in response to substantial water-level declines in large areas of the aquifer. --news release, US Geological Survey, links added.
A breach like one at the Gold King Mine in Colorado would send toxic, radioactive waste into the Oglala Lakota Nation and into the Missouri River.

Read more about indigenous action from Debra White Plume's piece at Indian Country Today.
Debra White Plume (Wioweya Najin Win), Executive Director of Owe Aku, is an Oglala Lakota grandmother and water rights activist who is taking on Cameco, the world’s largest producer of uranium, near her homeland on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, in South Dakota. From traveling through the lands, providing training camps, speaking engagements, strategic planning meetings, prayer circles with the Cheyenne Nation, Lakota Nation, Diné Nation, Apache Nation, Annishanabe Nation (Canada), Gila River Nation and Palestinian allies, the message is out there to continue to resist, to engage, to empower, to act collectively, to never give up.
Read it here.
Powertech/Azarga proposes a uranium mine split between Fall River County and Custer County threatening water uses and availability in those areas. This project is loaded with red flags for both water and public health. The economic fate of the Black Hills is at stake. The EPA has proposed rules changes for In Situ Recovery to protect valuable water resources. They recognize that ISR activities use significant volumes of water and state "the ISR process does directly alter groundwater chemistry, posing the challenge of groundwater restoration and long-term subsurface geochemical stabilization after the ISR operational phase ends." They also acknowledge that the lixiviants used can liberate other elements, particularly heavy metals, and that the migration of these outside the production zone can potentially contaminate surrounding aquifers. [Letter, Rebecca Leas]
South Dakota's Republican congressmongers are up to their areolae in campaign contributions from earth rapers and routinely attempt to end environmental protection.

At least one South Dakota Republican calls it the "fed's war on energy" when it's really Big Energy's war on the Earth.

What do you think? Can South Dakota be saved or is all life in the state doomed?


No comments:

Post a Comment

Anyone may comment but please use a handle so the blog author can respond effectively; bot verification is enabled. Thank you for visiting.