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LETTER: Could ISL uranium mining cause land subsidence?

To the Editor: In the Dec. 27 edition of the Rapid City Journal, there was a story regarding land subsidence in large areas of California. The cause, according to sources noted in the article, is oper-pumping of the groundwater. Since most of the...

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To the Editor:

In the Dec. 27 edition of the Rapid City Journal, there was a story regarding land subsidence in large areas of California. The cause, according to sources noted in the article, is oper-pumping of the groundwater.

Since most of the southern California is historically desert landscape, the heavy reliance on groundwater is understandable.

The residents and ranchers of the Black Hills region also heavily rely on groundwater. The ISL mining process proposed at the Dewey-Burdock mine site would pump thousands of gallons of water per minute out of the aquifers in order to free the uranium ore buried deep in the ground. Those proposing the mine say that most of the water would be returned to the aquifer. Yet they also propose to spray excess water on the ground and retain other water in detention ponds.

Could this massive amount of water reduction in our aquifer also cause land subsidence in the ecologically fragile southern hills? The Department of Environment and Natural Resources must study this issue before any ISL mining would be approved in South Dakota.

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Francis DiCesare

Rapid City

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