Let’s clean up one mess before making another. That was the message from members of two local groups opposed to uranium mining on Saturday, when volunteers gathered at the Outdoor Campus West in Rapid City to set up public information and outreach booths to speak to visitors about the importance of clean water and the impact of uranium mining.
In the wake of Azarga Uranium proposing a uranium mine in South Dakota, the Black Hills Clean Water Alliance and Dakota Rural Action have opposed the idea, saying that uranium mining would bring only short-term economical benefits while harming tourism and land, water and cultural resources.
“The vast majority of the mines have not been cleaned up. They put radioactive materials into the rivers and into the soil sediment,” Lilias Jarding said. “The main thing we want is to clean up the old uranium mines and not start any new uranium mines in the Black Hills.”
Jarding, a volunteer with the Clean Water Alliance, gave hands-on demonstrations to children about water testing. She hopes the booth can help teach people the importance of clean water.
Dakota Rural Action volunteers showed visitors how to use a Geiger counter to measure radiation of objects such as an antique plate, alarm clock and rocks.