SB 158: Uranium Mining Bill Passes Senate.
The State Senate has passed a bill that changes the way uranium mines are regulated in South Dakota. Those backing the bill say it reduces redundancy in government and saves public resources. But opponents say it removes local control and reduces oversight of mining companies. SDPB's Charles Michael Ray spoke with those for and against Senate Bill 158.
Mark Hollenbeck is Project Manager for Power Tec a Uranium mining company operating near Edgemont. Hollenbeck says currently both Federal officials and state officials oversee uranium mines. He says this bill reduces government redundancy.
"It would not reduce any regulations that we have to follow - it's just that they would not be redundant regulations," says Hollenbeck.
But opponents disagree. Lilias Jarding with the Clean Water Alliance warns this bill is an effort by mining companies to get away with less oversight.
"Leaving a hole in the safety net big enough for a uranium company to waltz through and do as it wishes," says Jarding.
Officials with the South Dakota DENR which currently oversee Uranium mines for the State say this bill will not save the government money, as no jobs will change. DENR officials say that the proposal reduces the number of people who oversee uranium mining operations. Senate Bill 158 goes next to the House.
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