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LETTER: Powertech threatens the Black Hills' water

To the Editor:

The Canadian company, Powertech, Inc., plans to mine uranium in the Black Hills using the groundwater of our region as a tool (in situ leach mining).

The risk of permanent contamination of our aquifers is significant. Rehabilitating groundwater would be time-consuming, difficult and expensive. All attempts to restore the "mined" aquifers could fail.

Powertech plans to convert uranium ore into yellowcake, which would be available for export, and could be used to generate nuclear power or build weapons. They risk contamination of so much water for the profit of so few, for a product that may do little to improve people's lives.

The people of our region go back a hundred, or in many cases, hundreds of years. Our culture of water use has allowed us to survive, and sometimes thrive, in this semiarid land.

From the perspective of the working man and woman, life is possible here because we view clean water as a common good.

If we want a vision for our water that is life-sustaining, we must protect it. We need to persuade our state's Water Management Board members to question the belief that Powertech can return nothing but clean water to our aquifers.