Thank you for joining us.  We are at a critical time in protecting water from radioactive uranium mining here in the Black Hills region.


BHA bumper sticker from 1980.


We must do everything in our power to protect our groundwater aquifers; the Madison, Minnelusa, Inyan Kara Group, along with others, from toxic uranium mining operations such as this current threat by AZARGA Uranium – AKA – Powertech (USA).  Azarga/Powertech want to use billions of gallons of our water for their toxic in situ uranium mining operation planned for the Dewey-Burdock area of the Southern Black Hills.  But they need permits like this one below:

Environmental Protection Agency – Region 8 has announced an extension of the Public Comment Period for the Dewey-Burdock Class III and Class V Injection Well Draft Area Permits


Or, you can Comment NOW by using this easy on-line form courtesy of Earthworks.  Comment Here

We’ve held Azarga/Powertech Uranium off since 2010 with the help of many dedicated volunteers, grassroots allies, expert witnesses, and tribal historical preservation officers.  Through these combined efforts we have intervened through the legal channels to prevent this toxic uranium mining from contaminating our water.

The Azarga/Powertech Uranium now plans to drill 4,000 in situ leach mining wells. The original plan was to drill 1,500.  These toxic wells would be drilled into the Inyan Kara aquifer on the southwest edge of the Black Hills, which is used by families for their drinking water. After mining, the company’s plan is to pump uranium mining wastes back underground into the Minnelusa aquifer through as many as four deep disposal wells. However, there are several other precious aquifers that the company has listed to be tested; Unkpapa/Sundance, Fall River, Minnekahta Limestone, and the Chilson (or Lakota).  This is unacceptable.  We can’t sit idle on this issue.

Send in your written comment to the EPA to the address below:

Valois Shea (shea.valois@epa.gov)
Fax: 303-312-6741
U.S. EPA Region 8
Mail Code: 8WP-SUI
1595 Wynkoop Street
Denver, Colorado  80202-1129

EPA Public Notice

The EPA Public Comment Period has been extended and comments are now due by June 19, 2017 by midnight MST.

Don’t know what to say? Click here for our printed Comment Card 3-17 pdf that you can copy and past to Email to: shea.valois@epa.gov

Or, you can Comment NOW by using this easy on-line form courtesy of Earthworks.  Comment Here

We have been very active on this issue and hope you’ll join us.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Allies and organizations joined forces to tell the EPA NO URANIUM MINING.

5-23-2017 UPDATE: There were five public comment hearings before the Environmental Protection Agency between April 27 and May 11, 2017.  The hearings were designed to gather input on the EPA’s draft permits to allow a company to mine uranium in one groundwater aquifer (the Inyan Kara) and to dispose of the wastes using wells drilled into another aquifer (the Minnelusa).  The proposal would involve drilling 4,000 wells for mining purposes, and four to dispose of mining wastes.  The hearings were held at Valentine, NE., and at Rapid City, Hot Springs, and Edgemont in South Dakota.

In all, at least 700 people from all walks of life attended the hearings, and 212 people gave public comments.  Of the 212 people who gave public comments, 197 of them (93%) spoke against the proposed uranium mine and deep waste disposal wells.  It was very clear that we don’t want uranium mining or waste disposal in our groundwater — or anywhere in the Black Hills!

People who commented covered a wide variety of topics.  A lot of people talked about protecting the water — some from the heart and some in technical terms.  “Mni Wiconi” was heard throughout the meeting halls.  Others talked about the need to respect treaty rights, about protection of significant cultural sites, or about the need to protect our ranching and tourism economy.  Some expressed concerns about the potential use of the deep waste disposal wells, which could be used even if the mine didn’t go forward.  Others talked about the potential health impacts or about the use of uranium for nuclear power or nuclear weapons.  Many people covered other topics or more than one of these topics.

Thanks to everyone who attended and everyone who cooked, marched, and spoke!  Now it is important that everyone who cares about this issue sits down and writes a brief comment opposing the mining and disposal wells.  For more information on where to send your comment and what to say go to our Take Action page.  The deadline has been extended to June 19, 2017.  Allow plenty of time for fax (by noon) or e-mails (by 5:00 pm) to go through.  If you mail your comment, it must be postmarked by June 19.  Thanks for doing your part to protect the Black Hills, our water, our economy, and our health. TAKE ACTION NOW! The Environmental Protect Agency is seeking  Public Comments on the permitting process for Azarga/Powertech in the Dewey-Burdock area of Fall River and Custer counties.

This comment period are for the Class III and Class V Injection Well Draft Area Permits and must be received by midnight on June 19, 2017.

“The Madison and Minnelusa aquifers are two of the most important aquifers in the Black Hills area because of utilization for water supplies and important influences on surface-water resources resulting from large springs and stream-flow-loss zones.”United States Geological Survey: Geochemistry of the Madison and Minnelusa Aquifers in the Black Hills Area, South Dakota – PDF


Some Brief History: 

All mining companies use the 1872 General Mining Law to gain access to mineral mining.  Anyone can pay a small fee and stake a claim on federal lands.  The claim-holder has an absolute right to mine under the law, and — even worse — they don’t have to pay any federal royalties.

Honor the Treaties and the National Historic Preservation Act.

The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (Public Law 89-665; 54 U.S.C. 300101 et seq.) is legislation intended to preserve historical and archaeological sites in the United States of America.

Under the 1851 Ft. Laramie Treaty the U.S. Government is mandated to consult with tribal government as Government to Government Relations.  This includes following NHPA rules and regulations with the tribes. However, South Dakota and federal agencies involved in permitting this uranium mining have continuously ignored tribal nations and their expert testimony regarding cultural properties and sacred sites in the target area.

The Treaties are the supreme law of the land according to the U.S. Supreme Court decision.  But that hasn’t stopped mining corporations and unethical politicians from bulldozing through to get what they want.  It’s time to hold the U.S. Government’s accountable for threatening our water supply.

This map shows claims by radioactive mining companies on federal lands in the Black Hills region as of 2016.  The claims are in red. The map for the central Black Hills is a United States Geological Survey map of the rock layers in the region.  The claims along the northwestern edge of the Black Hills in Wyoming are to the left, off the main map. CLAIMS ON USGS MAP

How you can help | Write Your Representative | Letter to the Editor Samples | Donate



The proposal for a uranium mine in Fall River and Custer counties of South Dakota would use huge amounts of water.

Powertech Uranium has asked the state for a permit to extract 551 gallons per minute from the Madison aquifer. They have also applied for a permit to extract 8,500 gallons per minute from the Inyan Kara formation.

9,000 gallons per minute equals 12,960,000 gallons per day. Multiply that by 365 days and then by a ten years, and this equals 47 billion gallons of our water. According to the company, the project may last as long as 20 years.

94 billion gallons of water, in a time of drought, for which they’d pay NOTHING. 

Money isn’t the issue… but the threat to our water is!



Uranium is a naturally-occurring element. It generally poses no danger when it is left in the ground. However, when it is brought to the surface and concentrated, it emits dangerous levels of radiation. Once uranium begins to emit radiation, it breaks down into other heavy metals in a process that cannot be stopped and lasts millions of years.

History of Uranium Mining | Know the Hazards | What is “In situ” Mining?


Kerr McGee U Mine Navajo 1953

cutm-petition-image“There are more than 15,000 abandoned uranium mines in the US.”- cleanupthemines.org

There are 167 old uranium mines and prospects in the southern Black Hills.

The federal Department of Energy is collecting comments on abandoned uranium mines. Click here  and provide your input (once on the DOE site there is a link in the top right corner where you can file your comments.)