[Note: the following also appeared also appeared as a letter to the editor today in the Argus Leader today (1/17/2013).]
I am disturbed to read that a Canadian company, Powertech, is seeking to mine uranium near Edgemont in western South Dakota. The water needed in the mining process will come from two aquifers and could use up to more than 370 million gallons yearly. This is water taken from communities, ranchers and families in the area. The water also will be contaminated with radioactive materials and heavy metals and cannot be used for other purposes. If this project is approved, South Dakota will lose access to critical groundwater resources.
The mining of uranium is perhaps seen as an economic boon to the state, but I question if it is worth the cost involved in human and ecological well-being and health. Recently, I spoke to someone whose father worked in a uranium mine and, as a consequence, suffered severe health problems. It seems to me that the fallout from allowing Powertech to mine in our state is not worth it.
—Sister Gabriella Crowley is a Sister of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary from Sioux Falls. She is an active member of both SDPJC and Pax Christi and serves on the board of South Dakotans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.