Protesters want lawmakers to clean up abandon uranium mines - KOTA Territory News

Protesters want lawmakers to clean up abandon uranium mines

A South Dakota group is leading the effort to stop abandon uranium mines from contaminating the water.

The protest coincides with a national campaign called "Clean up the Mines."

Holding signs that read "Stop Uranium Mining" and "Warning: Radioactive River", the group called Defenders of the Black Hills rallied at the Cheyenne River Bridge along Highway 40 on Tuesday. They said they want to stop abandon uranium mines from polluting the water.

Coordinator Charmaine White Face says rivers, including the Cheyenne River, contain contaminated water from abandon mines.

"In 2006, the state of south Dakota actually said that the Cheyenne River is polluted by the abandon uranium mines in Wyoming. Now if you were to head directly west of here to Edgemont, there’s 169 abandon mines there. They’re polluting this whole river, White Face said.

Former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein also spoke at the rally. She said she and White Face walked around with a geiger counter. She said she was alarmed at the elevated readings they found practically everywhere they went.

“The levels at the Ludlow school, which is about 200 yards from an open abandon mine, and we were getting reading 10 times higher than the levels of Fukushima evacuation levels,” Stein said. “We talked to some of the families around there and they said they had no idea. They had been assured that the mine was all covered over and nothing was coming out. There was no significant risk, but many studies show the closer you live to these mines, the higher the risk.”

Organizers said they want to push legislation through congress to ensure cleanup of hazardous abandoned uranium and other radioactive materials mines throughout the country.

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