Governor Dennis Daugaard is sending a representative to Wednesday’s meeting in Redfield on the Deep Borehole Field Test. That official will likely reiterate the support expressed by the Governor for the Borehole project in a 2014 letter and in a statement provided for the first Borehole meeting in Redfield on April 28.
On November 25, 2014, one month after the Department of Energy posted the Deep Borehole Field Test request for bids (DE-SOL-0007705), Governor Daugaard sent the following letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz:
The final paragraph is the key policy statement:
My support for the field test is predicated on the understanding that no nuclear material beyond conventional geophysical tools will be used in the conduct of these investigations and that our interest does not imply the state of South Dakota will accept nuclear waste. Any decision pertaining to storage of spent nuclear fuel must be based on results of rigorous scientific study and a favorable public vote by South Dakota citizens [Governor Dennis Daugaard, letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, 2014.11.25].
To hold to his word on that public vote, Governor Daugaard might want to prepare a constitutional amendment to restore the automatic referendum power over nuclear waste that South Dakotans created for themselves in 1984 and exercised to stop a multi-state nuclear-waste compact in 1985. The Legislature repealed that power in 1987.
Secretary Moniz acknowledged Governor Daugaard’s condition support for the Borehole project in a letter three months later:
Secretary Moniz’s assurance appears to have sustained the Governor’s support for the Borehole project. At the April 28, 2016, Redfield meeting, DBFT contractor Battelle provided this updated statement from Governor Daugaard:
I have previously supported deep underground research at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead and in shale formations by the South Dakota School of Mines. I support the Deep Borehole project in South Dakota because it furthers our state’s leadership in underground research with no potential for that location to be used to store nuclear waste. South Dakota is a recognized worldwide leader in this area, and I’m proud our state has the potential to continue this legacy of scientific innovation [Governor Dennis Daugaard, message read by Rod Osborne, Battelle, public meeting, Redfield, South Dakota, 2016.04.28].
These are the statements for which South Dakotans can hold Governor Daugaard accountable as we discuss whether or not to permit the Deep Borehole Field Test to take place in Spink County.