American Indians, arid climate, Black Footed Ferret, Black-Tailed Prairie Dog, clean water, Custer South Dakota, dirty nuclear energy, drought, Endangered Animals, Fort Laramie Treaty, habitat destruction, ISL uranium mining, nuclear regulatory commission, Oglala Sioux, Penny Stock, South Dakota, uranium, uranium mining, US Fisheries and Wildlife Service, US NRC, water
Black-footed Ferret, USFWS
The US Fisheries and Wildlife Service says that the Black-footed Ferret is one of the most endangered animals in the world, and one of the most endangered mammals in the US. It is listed by the Fisheries and Wildlife Service as living in Custer, South Dakota, one of the counties being targeted for uranium mining. In 1987 there were only an estimated 18 left, in the entire world: “The primary reasons the species remains at risk are the same that nearly caused the animal’s extinction: loss of habitat and prey.” Ferret habitat is now only 2% of its original range. http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/blackfootedferret/
(Counties where they live: http://ecos.fws.gov/speciesProfile/profile/countiesBySpecies.action?entityId=5)
Meanwhile, a Canadian registered Penny Stock company – worth 6 cents a share – “Powertech” continues to endanger not only the Black-footed Ferret, not only other animals, endangered or not, but the very water upon which life itself depends in a semi-arid climate. The fate of the Black-footed ferret, other animals, and ultimately the water supply for the area appears to rest upon a US Nuclear Regulatory Commission judge-panel; hearing on August 19 to 21. Written comments are accepted (see more further down). After initially agreeing to directly consider the Endangered Species Act and specifically the case of the greater sage grouse, the whooping crane, and the black-footed ferret, at the behest of the 6 cent Penny Stock from Canada, two of the three judges threw out the proposed consideration of these topics!
In a December 30, 2012 comment to the NRC, Dayton Hyde, founder of the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, remarked:
“Bald eagles, sage-grouse, whooping cranes, and black-footed ferrets are all threatened or endangered wildlife species that could be negatively impacted by the proposed project. Wildlife is simply expected to disperse and go elsewhere. This creates undue hardship on sensitive species.”
According to the US Fisheries and Wildlife Service:
“Since March 11, 1967, the black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) has been listed as endangered across its entire range, with the exception of several reintroduced populations designated as experimental. In November 2008, the Service completed a 5-year review of black-footed ferret recovery efforts. This review found that the species remains one of the most endangered mammals in the United States, and continues to warrant endangered status. Despite the radically-altered environment facing reintroduced ferrets today, scientists believe that the recovery of the species is within reach.
Recent Actions: On December 20, 2013 the Service completed a revision of the 1988 Black-footed Ferret Recovery Plan in coordination with interested State, Tribal, Federal, and non-government organizations or agencies within the historical range of the species, as well as through a review of public comments. The black-footed ferret will benefit from purposeful management of a portion of existing prairie dog habitat in 12 western states; it is obligate predator of prairie dogs and depends upon their burrows for shelter. The Black-footed Footed Recovery Implementation Team, composed of representatives of the aforementioned organizations and agencies, will use the Revised Black-footed Ferret Recovery Plan to help guide future conservation efforts for the species.
Threats: Despite significant recovery successes, the black-footed ferret remains one of the most endangered animals in the world. The primary reasons the species remains at risk are the same that nearly caused the animal’s extinction: loss of habitat and prey. Conservation or native grasslands to agricultural land, widespread prairie dog eradication programs, and fatal, non-native diseases have reduced ferret habitat to less than two percent of its original range. The remaining habitat is now fragmented, with prairie dog towns separated by expanses of agricultural land and other human developments.
Population Numbers and Recovery Efforts: Black-footed ferrets once numbered in the tens of thousands, but a combination of human-induced threats brought them to the brink of extinction in the 20th century. In fact, the species was twice believed by scientists to be extinct. In 1987, only eighteen individuals were known to exist in the entire world. Scientists captured these ferrets, which provided the foundation for a successful breeding and reintroduction program. As of 2011, this Service-led program has since produced more than approx. 8,000 kits in captivity, more than approx. 3,000 of which have been reintroduced into their natural habitat. It is estimated that as a result of these efforts there are currently more than approx. 500-1,000 black-footed ferrets in the wild, and another approx. 300 living in breeding facilities.” (Emphasis added) http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/blackfootedferret/ http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/factsheets/Black-Footed-Ferret.pdf http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/blackfootedferret/78FR77485.pdf
Black-Tailed Prairie Dog, USFWS
According to the US Fisheries and Wildlife Service:
“Any actions that kill prairie dogs or alter their habitat could prove detrimental to black-footed ferrets occupying the affected prairie dog towns” http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/btprairiedog/
According to the Oglala Sioux tribe, whose land this proposed uranium mine is actually on , and who ask only that the US government respect the land, water and animals:
“The DEIS also forwards an unreasonably bounded analysis regarding the Black-footed ferret:
Black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) are not present in the site vicinity at this time (BLM, 2009a; FWS, 2010; SEIS Section 3.6.3). However, the presence of the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) in the northwestern corner of the proposed project area provides potentially suitable habitat for the black-footed ferret.
Because there have been no occurrences of black-footed ferrets within the proposed project area and the prairie dog colony on the site is likely too small to support and sustain a breeding population of black-footed ferrets (as described in SEIS Section 3.6.3), NRC staff conclude that the proposed project construction would not result in a direct effect on current or future ferret populations.
DSEIS at 4-92 – 4-93. As with the whooping crane, the DSEIS does not document any attempt to seek USFWS concurrence or consolation regarding a listed species that the Powertech project “may effect.” Instead, the DSEIS reveals that suitable habitat exists within the project area.
On operations, the DSEIS makes a “no-jeopardy” conclusion without benefit of the ESA Section 7 consultation process. Although impacts are identified, there is no evidence that NRC’s determination is based on the necessary expertise and investigations.
“the impacts are expected to noticeably alter important attributes of the terrestrial environment; however, staff do not expect these impacts to threaten the continued existence of any species.”
DSEIS at 4-105(emphasis supplied”). See Bennett v. Spear, 520 U.S. 154, 158 (U.S. 1997)(describing statutory Section 7 process that is required to ensure an agency does not threaten the “continued existence” of listed species). As described above, the NRC and its employees ignore the ESA consultation requirements “at its own peril.” Id. at 169. Further, there is no basis to segregate the ESA consultation from the NEPA analysis.
Impacts from disposal of 11e2 byproduct materials, water disposal and decommissioning activities are expected to have a “MODERATE impact on vegetation, small- to medium-sized mammals, raptors, upland game birds, waterfowl and shorebirds, nongame and migratory birds, and reptiles. . .” DSEIS 4-106. However, a detailed examination of the impacts on wildlife from waste disposal is not provided. Most egregious, the impacts of transporting solid 11e2 byproduct materials to Utah are not analyzed. There is no mention of these foreseeable disposal and decommissioning impacts in the 2009 and 2010 correspondence with USFWS. For example, all travel routes to Utah implicate the listed Lynx. Proper consultation with USFWS will no doubt reveal other listed species beyond those identified by NRC staff.
Many other impacted and listed species must be examined in a correlated ESA consultation and NEPA analysis that is based on a project area for the 11e2 byproduct license that includes the assumed Utah disposal and the transportation routes. Section 7 consultation with USFWS must be engaged based on a full range of foreseeable impacts of the 11e2 byproduct licensing action, including the confirmed need for off-site disposal of solid radioactive materials during operation and closure.” (Emphasis added)(p. 17) (From “Comments on Docket ID NRC-2012-0277; Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, Proposed Dewey-Burdock In Situ Leach Uranium Mine, South Dakota“, Submitted by 3 Attorneys for the Oglala Sioux Tribe, on their behalf: http://www.powertechexposed.com/2013.01.10%20OST%20Dewey-Burdock%20DSEIS%20Commments%20FINAL.pdf (Also available on the NRC web site).
The contentions being evaluated-heard starting on August 19, 2014 to August 21, 2014, and which are the only things upon which they are accepting oral or written comment, were ruled on July 3, 2014 (signed by Froehlich only) to include:
“Contention 14A: Whether an appropriate consultation was conducted pursuant to the Endangered Species Act and implementing regulations.
Contention 14B: Whether the FSEIS’s impact analyses relevant to the greater sage grouse, the whooping crane, and the black-footed ferret are sufficient.” (Emphasis added) http://www.powertechexposed.com/2014.07.03%20Notice%20re%20limited%20appearance%20statements.pdf
However, the apparently all powerful six cents a share Powertech complained about these being included and they were thrown out by two of the three judges (Barnett was absent) on July 15, 2014: http://www.powertechexposed.com/2014.07.15%20Order%20re%20contentions%2014A%20and%2014B_ML14196A353.pdf
The remaining contentions still indirectly support the endangered species by focusing primarily on the larger environmental issues of water. And, water is life, especially in the semi-arid environment, in question.
The remaining “contentions” to be examined are:
“Contention 1A: Failure to Meet Applicable Legal Requirements Regarding Protection of Historical and Cultural Resources.
Contention 1B: Failure to Involve or Consult All Interested Tribes as Required by Federal Law.
Contention 2: The FSEIS Fails to Include Necessary Information for Adequate Determination of Baseline Ground Water Quality.
Contention 3: The FSEIS Fails to Include Adequate Hydrogeological Information to Demonstrate Ability to Contain Fluid Migration and Assess Potential Impacts to Groundwater.
Contention 4: The FSEIS Fails to Adequately Analyze Ground Water Quantity Impacts.
Contention 6: The FSEIS Fails to Adequately Describe or Analyze Proposed Mitigation Measures.
Contention 9: The FSEIS Fails to Consider Connected Actions.” http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-07-23/pdf/2014-17219.pdf
(Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 141 / Wednesday, July 23, 2014)
It appears that written comment is still allowed, but only the above contention-topics will be considered:
“Mail: Office of the Secretary Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Washington, D.C. 20555-0001
Fax: (301) 415-1101 (verification (301) 415-1966)
In addition, using the same method of service, a copy of the written request to make an oral statement should be sent to the Chairman of this Licensing Board as follows:
Mail: Administrative Judge William J. Froehlich, Chairman c/o Nicholas Sciretta, Law Clerk Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel Mail Stop T-3F23 U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Washington, D.C. 20555-0001
Fax: (301) 415-5599 (verification (301) 415-4128)
Email: Nicholas.Sciretta@nrc.gov and Twana.Ellis@nrc.gov
VI. SUBMITTING WRITTEN LIMITED APPEARANCE STATEMENTS
As provided in 10 C.F.R. § 2.315(a), any person not a party, or a representative of a party, to the proceeding may submit a written statement setting forth his or her position on matters of concern related to this proceeding. Although these statements do not constitute testimony or evidence, they nonetheless may assist the Board or the parties in their consideration of the issues in this proceeding. The Board encourages early submission of written limited appearance statements so that the Board members will be able to consider issues raised in such statements while addressing the issues in the evidentiary proceeding. Written limited appearance statements may be submitted at any time, and should be sent by mail, fax, or email both to the Chairman of this Licensing Board and also to the Office of the Secretary. This contact information is listed above.” http://www.powertechexposed.com/2014.07.03%20Notice%20re%20limited%20appearance%20statements.pdf
About Powertech, from Powertechexposed:
“Powertech shareholders approve reverse takeover by Australian and Singaporean investors
Transaction will hand over control to Azarga insiders, add massive convertible debt to Powertech’s balance sheet, and dilute longtime shareholders
Posted July 20, 2014
Powertech shareholders voting at a June 30 annual meeting approved a transaction that would immediately transfer control of the Canadian company to a group of individuals and companies from Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The transaction must be approved by the Toronto stock exchange and is expected to close by the end of July.
The deal, misleadingly described by Powertech as the acquisition of British Virgin Islands firm Azarga Resources Limited, is actually a reverse takeover of Powertech by Australian businessmen Alex Molyneux and Curtis Church, and Singaporean investment firms Blumont Group Ltd. and Pacific Advisers Pte Ltd.” (Excerpted from: http://www.powertechexposed.com/Powertech%20shareholders%20approve%20reverse%20takeover.htm http://www.powertechexposed.com is the only web site which constantly and consistently updates on Powertech and this case.
Ruling including one of the same judges, Judge Froehlich, re Davis Besse on Lake Erie (two judges are different, however): http://www.beyondnuclear.org/storage/kk-links/7%2025%2014%20DB%20ASLB%20Denial%20of%20Contention%206%20on%20Shield%20Building%20Cracking.pdf. This doesn’t make things look hopeful, despite the fact that his students seem hold Froehlich in high regard.
Powertech document on the Black-footed Ferrets
“Black-footed Ferret One black-tailed prairie dog colony is present within the permit area; approximately one-third of the colony was occupied during the baseline survey period (Map 2). Prairie dog colonies provide habitat for several species of concern, including the endangered black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) and the mountain plover (Charadrius montanus), a species of concern for the SDNHP. The USFWS office in Pierre, South Dakota issued a block clearance from the need to conduct surveys for black-footed ferrets in black-tailed prairie dog colonies in the state prior to 2007, when baseline wildlife surveys began for the Dewey-Burdock project (S. Larson, USFWS, personal communication to G. McKee, ICF Jones & Stokes, August 25, 2007). Consequently, no surveys for ferrets were required or conducted for this project.” (p.11) http://denr.sd.gov/des/mm/documents/Powertech/PT12412Appendix%203.9A.pdf
Oglala Sioux comments (22pp.) http://www.powertechexposed.com/2013.01.10%20OST%20Dewey-Burdock%20DSEIS%20Commments%20FINAL.pdf
Connected Actions, Synergistic Impacts, defined: http://www.nwtrb.gov/meetings/1994/march/blaug.pdf
Links provided by Powertech Exposed to pdfs of relevant documents in this case:
“ATOMIC SAFETY AND LICENSING BOARD HEARING FILE
Legal briefs, motions, exhibits, and orders filed in the NRC’s ongoing evidentiary hearing process, a process that Powertech failed to disclose to investors for nearly four years” See listing and links here: http://www.powertechexposed.com/ASLB%20Hearing%20File.htm
“42836 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 141 / Wednesday, July 23, 2014 / Notices” http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-07-23/pdf/2014-17219.pdf
NOTE 1. The region in question is part of the Great Sioux Reservation, under the Fort Laramie Treaty. The Treaty land was never ceded to the US government. See: http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=42#
All they are asking is that the US government respect the land, water, and their sacred sites – cemeteries. But, instead they have to hire or find volunteer attorneys and fight for years against this Canada based Penny Stock uranium “Mining” company. What sense does it have to steal the land from the American Indians, only to turn around and give it to a third party in order for it to be destroyed? Who does this make sense to? And, how can a six cent Penny Stock company afford attorneys to fight against everyone for so long? Something is strange.