Published: August 22, 2012
By: Bonnie Gestring
May 23, 2012
Ms. Amber Vogt, Director
Lawrence County Planning and Zoning
90 Sherman St.
Deadwood, SD 57732
Re: Deadwood Standard Project Conditional Use permit
I am writing on behalf of Earthworks and our members in South Dakota and across the nation. I am writing in relation to the conditional use permit application submitted by the Valentine Mining Company, LLC for the Deadwood Standard Project proposed for development on the rim of Spearfish Canyon.
Spearfish Canyon is a national treasure and vital to the local tourist economy. As stated in a recent editorial by the Rapid City Journal, “Quite literally, there is no other place like it on earth. With tourism the region’s largest industry, protecting Spearfish Canyon ought to be a priority.” It is premature for the county to be considering a conditional use permit for this project, because the land use designation currently precludes mining on lands included in the proposed operation. The proposed Project is located, in part, on lands designated as Special, Exceptional, Unique or Critical, and therefore mining cannot occur on these lands without a change in designation by the State Board of Minerals and the Environment or a determination that impacts can be satisfactorily mitigated. This has not occurred.
The permit application is also missing basic and important project information that is necessary for the proper analysis of the impacts of this mine project. Without this information, it is impossible to determine the impacts to Spearfish Canyon, Spearfish Creek and to members of the public, let alone whether those impacts can be mitigated.
We ask the County to deny the conditional use permit, given the Special, Exceptional, Unique or Critical land designation, and the inadequacy of information in the permit application.