SD Water Management Board To Hear Request To Resume State Permit Process For Uranium Mine North Of Edgemont


     The South Dakota Water Management Board meets Wednesday and Thursday with an agenda that includes a request by Powertech/Azarga for the state to resume the permit process for its proposed Dewey-Burdock uranium mine north of Edgemont.

      The permit process began more than a decade ago, but was halted by mutual agreement in 2013 unless or until federal permits were approved. Federal approval came last year and the company wants to move forward now on the state side.

       Anyone wishing to speak during the public comment period via a remote connection must contact the South Dakota Dept of Agriculture and Natural Resources by 5:00 CT Tuesday. Call 605-773-3352 for information. 

      Individuals and organizations officially entered as interveners or parties years ago will be able to testify during the Water Board’s formal hearing on Powertech’s request. Opponents have the support of the South Dakota Attorney General’s office on the question of resuming the process at this time.

       The AG’s office represents state agencies and Assistant Attorney General Ann Mines Bailey submitted a brief to the Water Board in June on behalf of two Ag and Natural Resources programs opposing the idea. 

      The Water Rights and Water Quality Programs say because Powertech’s federal permits are being appealed, there’s no guarantee it could begin work even if the state grants its permits.

       Mines Bailey says in her brief that “white there is no legal impediment in restarting these proceedings at this time, there is no legal obligation to do so, either.” She says waiting until the federal appeals are finished before restarting the state process would be more efficient for the state. 

       The Water Management Board agenda calls for consideration of the Powertech request to start Wednesday at 10:45 CT. The board is scheduled to recess for lunch at an unspecified time and not resume until 7:30 Thursday.