Public voices concerns on exploration drilling project during Legal and Finance meeting

The committee heard information from F3 Gold, SD School of Mines, and seven community members

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The public voiced their concerns over a proposed exploratory drilling in the Jenney Gulch Area of Pactola.

Committee On Sustainability MembersRapid City’s Legal and Finance Committee heard from Larry Mann of F3 Gold and School of Mines Professor Mark Bowron who provided information about the project to try and address people’s concerns.

Bowron says that he’s surprised the council will talk about the issues without reaching out to the School of Mines and it would be “appropriate for the council to have a joint meeting, reach out to the school” and that exploration is not mining.

While Mann says that water will not be sourced from Rapid Creek or water discharged into the creek drainage, and that there is not interest in drilling beneath Pactola.

Seven residents followed with their concerns about the program like the water supply.Patjones

“We really need to stop right now and consider the motivation,” Justin Herreman, Rapid City resident, said during public comment. “What is the motivation behind the half million dollars that they’ve already spent on this project and the additional million dollars that they’re going to spend? What’s my motivation for skipping lunch today and pushing three meeting today to show up here? Because we care about the future of our community. We care about the opportunity for my grandchildren that hopefully I’ll have someday to have clean drinking water. What do the folks from F3 care about? They live in Minneapolis — They care about money.”

“One of the groups that’s really well informed is the Rapid City watershed, they know all the details. They provide us with some of the more technical stuff like the decision notice and information from the mining company that’s doing the exploration,” Alan Anderson, Chair of the Standing Committee on Sustainability in Rapid City. “One of the other groups that we talked with or we get information from is the Clean Water Alliance for Rapid City; they’re pretty well versed on this, too. The bottom line is Black Hills is a beautiful place. It means a lot to everybody who lives here and everybody that wants to come visit. People have a right to mine by law in some areas. But there are limits. When is it unacceptable and why is it unacceptable?”

Some community members say that the City of Rapid City has rights to 89% of what goes into Pactola.

F3 GoldThe Committee moved further discussion to Monday’s Common Council Meeting, to allow all members to share their thoughts.

“About two years ago, this same group – many members are the same people that were in front of us asking for us to support a resolution to oppose drilling and mining up in the Black Hills,” Ritchie Nordstrom, Ward 2 Alderman, said. “The participants that spoke today [Wednesday] had to do with essentially the same group who do not want to see drilling or mining up in the Black Hills. My concern is that there’s many steps in the process. If we even get to mining, I’m just speaking based on the information today, with the thousands of drill holes that we have in the Black Hills right now, I am skeptical that we’ll see any additional mining taking place in the Black Hills.”

Legal and Finance did pass 15 items today during the meeting.

The Police Department got items passed to receive money for Project Safe Neighborhood Grants, the Johns Hopkins Agreement and JourneyOn Contract Providing Wages, as well as,  authorization for staff to apply for and accept the 2022 JAG Grant to buy forensic equipment if awarded.

Money for a Live Fire Training Tower for the Fire Department was also passed.

For the meeting agenda, you can visit The City of Rapid City’s website.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News