Project Powertech wants SD Council to resume consideration of its state permit applications


PIERRE, SD (KELO) – The company that seeks to begin mining uranium in western South Dakota through a water-intensive process called in-situ wants state board to resume its review three of his permit applications after an eight-year break, the project manager for Powertech United States said Wednesday.

“I’m assuming we’ll be tabling the motions within a month to get the motions out, and I’m not sure how long it will take to proceed and organize the hearing,” Mark Hollenbeck told KELOLAND News.

Mark Hollenbeck, project manager

“Powertech has been involved in the authorization of this project for about 15 years. We have put this permit on hold at the state level to obtain our federal permits. So in the last eight years or so our federal permits have been approved. So we decided to come back to the state and continue working on our state permits, ”Hollenbeck said.

Hollenbeck arrived at the meeting place approximately 10 minutes after the state Water management board had received an update on the status of Rapid City attorneys for the project. “We are here this morning to formally inform council that we intend to proceed with the water permit applications and approval of the groundwater discharge plan from Powertech USA,” said Matt Naasz.

The state council agreed in 2013 to suspend action on state licenses and grant an extension until the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the United States Nuclear Protection Agency environment have made decisions on Powertech’s federal permit applications.

Naasz said the two federal agencies had issued permits and made decisions on financial assurance regarding Powertech’s claims.

“These permits are currently under appeal. The issuance of these permits materialized the purpose of Powertech’s motion to continue, which was to restrict the matters before the board. Because these permits have been issued, Powertech intends, as I said, to move forward with the state licensing process that is before the Board of Management of the water, ”Naasz said.

The company’s intention is to file a petition for a “soon” scheduling order that would set dates for resuming state proceedings, according to Naasz. He said there are likely to be issues that will need to be resolved first. “Our thinking on this is that these issues can be decided after being fully briefed, with properly noticed hearing, for the determination of these issues,” Naasz said.

But another Rapid City attorney, Bruce Ellison, representing some opponents, wanted to engage the board in further discussions. He participated by teleconference.

Counsel for the board, David McVey, responded that the various parties will have the opportunity to be fully heard at a later date. “But here, in practice, they (Powertech) can file any petition they want to file. We don’t really, we couldn’t take a position on that. Whether these motions will be accepted is another question, ”said McVey.

Ellison said he believed the purpose of the discussion was similar to that of the state Minerals and Environment Council organized a few months ago on the Powertech requests for various state permits. He said the Minerals Board understood that “the Powertech issues were far from over” at the federal level and that the only engagement was a future status hearing.

Ellison said the EPA is wondering what the status of Powertech is at the state level. He said the EPA was looking at critical issues such as wells and that the state’s water management board order continued the issue until there was a resolution at the federal level.

“We’re years away from those,” Ellison said.

Chairman of the Board Jim Hutmacher

Chairman of the board, Jim Hutmacher of Oacoma, told Ellison Powertech was entitled to table a motion, as did Ellison. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that none of the motions will be accepted, but they have the right to do so and we are not going to debate this issue (of) whether or not they have the right to table this motion today. ‘hui’. Hutmacher said.

Ellison has requested a hearing. Hutmacher replied: “You will receive notice of the motions as they are presented to the board and their lawyer – and to you.”

Earlier in the meeting, one person, Gena Parkhurst, used the public comment period to speak out against the project. “I am here as a concerned owner of Rapid City, concerned about the quantity and quality of water if this Powertech project were to come to fruition. And reading the material I received in the mail, it seems to me that Powertech doesn’t have all of the permits it needs to proceed with the state hearing process, ”Parkhurst said.

Powertech’s attorney, Naasz, said the state’s minerals board had conditioned further actions on the state’s water management board, so Powertech would proceed accordingly. Nationally, opposition groups have appealed a federal clearance decision. Opposition lawyer Ellison said the state council should not proceed until the appeal is decided.

Hollenbeck then came up with the company’s solution. “Opposition to the project tries to use ‘death by delay’ and has therefore continued to use all possible methods. To date, they have virtually lost all calls, ”he said.

Hollenbeck added: “I just think the time is right for this project with the concern about climate change. It is a carbon-free source of energy and people who really care about the environment should support this project and nuclear energy. “

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