Target: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Goal: Prevent a South Dakota energy company from receiving a permit to build a uranium mine
Powertech, a Canadian-based energy corporation, is currently applying for a permit to build a uranium mine in western South Dakota. The mine would extract about 1 million tons of uranium each year for two decades. While Powertech claims the process would be innocuous, there are many issues associated with uranium extraction that could lead to serious human health and environmental problems.
To begin, Powertech’s extraction method, pumping oxygen and carbon dioxide-infused water into the ground to dissolve the uranium, would use about 47 billion gallons of water over two decades. This process would divert water from the residents of South Dakota, a state currently reeling from drought, to the mine. Plus, the Clean Water Alliance, an activist organization, believes the water that does eventually reach residents will be contaminated with uranium after the extraction begins. Exposure to uranium can cause kidney failure, cancer, and other serious health problems in humans.
Furthermore, the mine would be located very close to the Black Hills National Forest. The forest is a sacred area for the Sioux Native Americans, the site of Mount Rushmore, and an important home for elk and mountain lions. Uranium mining has been proven to leave significant amounts of nuclear residue in soil and water. If the Powertech mine were operational for two decades, the large amount of uranium exposed to the environment around Black Hills would severely threaten the plants, animals, and people located in the area.
Overall, extracting uranium is not worth risking the health of the people of South Dakota or the pristine beauty of the Black Hills. Tell the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to deny Powertech the permits to build the mine.
Dear Nuclear Regulatory Commission,
The uranium mine proposed by Powertech is wrong for South Dakota. Extracting uranium from the ground has far more hazards than benefits, and the health and safety of the Black Hill communities, as well as the surrounding forests, would be at risk.
To begin, the large amount of water used by the mine would ensure water shortages for South Dakota’s communities. In a state currently suffering from extreme drought, taking 47 billion gallons of water from homes, schools, and small businesses and diverting that water to a mine is not safe or logical. Plus, if the mine were to become operational, the little water that did reach the residents would most likely be contaminated with uranium. There have been serious health risks associated with ingesting uranium and, due to the mine, South Dakota’s families would be directly affected.
Furthermore, the mine would be far too close to the Black Hills National Forest. The site of Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills attracts millions of visitors each year and is an important natural, cultural, and historic park for the United States. Uranium mining has been proven to leak radioactive residue into the environment. A mine that is operational for two decades would, without a doubt, expose the plants, animals, and people around Black Hills to dangerous level of radioactive materials.
Please reject Powertech’s permit proposal. The health and safety of South Dakota is at risk.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Kakadu National Park