Oglala Sioux fight expansion of uranium mine

A nuclear problem
© Indian Country Today May 09, 2008. All Rights Reserved
Posted: May 09, 2008
by: Rob Capriccios

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has given hope to a growing group of Natives from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in what’s being called a classic ”David vs. Goliath” battle for federal oversight involving a proposed expansion of a nearby uranium mine.

A three-judge panel from the commission ruled in late April that Native opponents to new developments on the Crow Butte Resources mine, located approximately 30 miles south of the reservation, raised valid arguments regarding groundwater contamination and health issues. The panel called for oral arguments on the matter, as well as a hearing on objections to the foreign ownership of the mine, which is owned by the Canadian firm Cameco Corp., the world’s largest uranium producer.

NRC’s whopping 130-page decision came as a result of Cameco’s desire to expand the mine, which opened in 1991 and produces approximately 800,000 pounds of yellowcake uranium each year. Crowe Butte officials have been petitioning to renew their existing license, and have filed notices of intention to develop two new uranium mines.

For several years, members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe have monitored developments at the 2,100-acre Crow Butte site. Many have growing concerns that activities there are affecting the quality of water on their lands, perhaps even leading to higher cancer rates and increased health problems for children and elders.(more…)

Ruling cheers critics of uranium mine

Ruling cheers critics of uranium mine


LINCOLN, NE; Federal regulators supplied a victory this week to opponents of the expansion of Nebraska’s only uranium mine.

The Crow Butte Resources mine east of Crawford is seeking to expand to a 2,100-acre site north of that Dawes County community.

The original mine opened in 1991 and produces about 800,000 pounds of yellowcake uranium each year.

The uranium is removed by pumping water and bicarbonate into the ground, then withdrawing the solution and recovering the dissolved mineral.

A three-judge panel from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled that opponents had raised valid concerns about the potential for groundwater contamination and threats to human health that warrant oral arguments.

The judges also said a hearing will be held on objections to the foreign ownership of the mine. It is owned by a Canadian firm, Cameco Corp., the world’s largest uranium producer.(more…)

Favorable Decision in Uranium Mining Case

Lakota Organization OWE AKU & An Environmental Victory
April 30, 2008
Greetings from Owe Aku, the traditional Lakota (Sioux) organization advocating for Lakota peoples’ human, ecological and treaty rights from a proactive grassroots perspective.  Owe Aku, on behalf of our communities and allies, is very pleased and humbled to express our gratitude for recent developments regarding the protection of our sacred Mother Earth.  The United States Federal Atomic Licensing Board (ALB) has granted Owe Aku the opportunity to put forth its arguments why Crow Butte Resources, Inc. should not be allowed to expand their current mining interests in northwestern Nebraska.
“Petitioners Debra White Plume, the organizations Owe Aku/Bring Back the Way and the Western Nebraska Resources Council are admitted as parties in this proceeding and their Requests for Hearing and Petitions to intervene are granted.”(more…)

Volunteers assist Pine Ridge Gardens Project

Report:  Slim Butte Agri-Dev Community Gardens, Plenty International        

Mission: Make 2008 Enlivened Potting Soil and Start Spring Garden plants

by Dennis Limon

v  March 2008 – White Bluff, Tennessee

Ø  Wednesday, 12th.  Mix compost and rock powders and load into tarp. Load coir, mixer, tubs and buckets.

Ø  Thursday, 13th.  Finish packing and head out.  Travel 500 miles.

Ø  Friday 14th.  Eat and head out.  Hit snow storm traveling up 385 to Chadron. Get into Tom Cook’s house about 11:30 pm.  Say hello to the family, then Louie Cook heads us north to Pine Ridge.  Cozy beds wait.

Ø  Saturday 15th.  Deb Cook welcomes us.  We unpack, eat breakfast and head out, on Lakota time, to Tom and Loretta’s timber frame house.  We slide down the road to the house and become acquainted with Pine Ridge “gumbo”.  With our pants tucked into rubber boots, we unload the coir and compost.  Over the day the snow melts, feeding the gumbo.  First thing, get some coir soaked.   Make a small pile of EPS, fill four trays and start the broccoli. (more…)

Coming Up

Kids To The Country Annual Earth Day Celebration at the Peace Garden in the Greenway along I-440 West at 10th and Gale Lane in Nashville from 11 AM until 2 PM. To RSVP or for more information call Mary Ellen at (931) 209-8119 or Sizwe (615) 300-2941.


Friends of Plenty in northern California are organizing a gala fundraising party to benefit Plenty on Saturday, May 3, at the Sebastopol Community Center, from 6:30 to midnight. Please join us for a vegetarian dinner, a silent auction of great items, and live music by four fantastic Bay Area bands! Tickets are $20.

For more info please email lwarting@redshift.com




Update on April 10, 2008

During the Plenty “Summit” in February when two of our Indian friends from Pine Ridge Reservation came out, a Tennessee biodynamic gardener, Dennis Limon, who also happens to be one of Plenty’s founders, offered to travel up to Pine Ridge and help kick off the spring family gardens season. In March, Dennis and his son Carlos drove their pickup truck to South Dakota with a load of Dennis’s organic potting soil. While there they held workshops to teach people how to make their own rich potting soil and made enough while there for 16,000 seedlings.

Today I received the following email from our man in New Orleans, Tony Sferlazza: “Crazy day here today. My 20 volunteers from California came a day early, which is great. As we checked to see if the inspection of the electric wiring was completed before we started to hang the drywall in Sandy’s house, we found that the electrician who was paid never had the inspection done. This made Sandy start to cry. Poor thing paid lots of money to local contractors and was ripped off. I made a call to the city hall and told them of our problem and within minutes a local electrician came by and gave the approval to hang the sheet rock. He told me many people have been taken advantage of here and he just wanted to help. We thanked him and started our work. My friend Frank said, “What do we expect in New Orleans but more problems?” To Frank the place looks the same as his last visit (November ’07) and things are getting worst for families who have to out of their FEMA trailers by June. We can’t see why no one is coordinating all the volunteers that come to keep them busy. Plenty is now one of just a few organizations to call if you have twenty youths who are here to help and need something to do. I often wonder if we were not here who would help these folks? —Tony”

             Mark Miller reports from Belize: “Plenty Belize is part of two consortiums that will be working to help small businesses and microenterprises in rural Toledo. The first group is led by the Toledo Teachers Credit Union (TTCU) with partners Sustainable Harvest International Belize and Plenty Belize. The second group is led by Belize Enterprise for Sustainable Technology (BEST) with Plenty Belize as the lone partner. The European Union is providing the funding for these programs. While the paperwork was signed on 4 March 2008, we expect funds to arrive in late April or early May, and then the work will begin in earnest. We expect to be able to assist 10 groups and 50+ individual with their small business start-ups.” It’s encouraging to see other funders step in to help Plenty Belize expand its reach, but at this point, donors to Plenty International remain the primary funders of Plenty Belize programs.

Plenty Belize Family Gardens Program


Plenty’s work in Belize has sought to address the related problems of environmental degradation, poverty, and poor nutrition through its GATE program (Garden-based Agriculture for Toledo’s Environment). First begun in 2002 at four schools, GATE has supported the creation and maintenance of gardens at 30 primary schools with a combined student body of more than 5,000. The gardens provide greatly needed nutritious produce for volunteer-run school lunch programs and are a focal point for educational activities for students. The gardens demonstrate practical agricultural alternatives aimed to maximize land use and productivity and minimize environmental damage. Plenty supplies tools, seeds, soil amendments, technical support and education to all participating schools. The GATE Program is well established. More than 50% of schools in the District are participating.

Family Garden, Santa Teresa Village, southern Belize

Building upon the local interest and involvement in GATE, and supported by a small grant from the Weyerhaeuser Foundation, Plenty now has the opportunity to develop and promote new initiatives aimed at decreasing malnutrition and poverty. Plenty’s Family Gardens Program is one such initiative, which will promote good nutrition, healthy living, environmental education and self-sufficiency within village households. Organic home gardens will provide nutritious fresh produce for families, will serve as a tool for teaching nutrition, will reduce costly and hazardous chemical inputs, and will provide the potential for additional household income. First year goals include establishing twenty home gardens, involving 100 family members and training twenty youths, graduates of our Gate Program, as garden advisors.