As KOTA-TV reported on December 1, Governor Dennis Daugaard continues to support bringing the U.S. Department of Energy’s Deep Borehole Field Test to South Dakota as an extension of our recent tradition of underground scientific research as practiced at the Homestake/Sanford lab in Lead.
Karl Herchenroeder of RadWaste Monitor (subscription required) reports that our Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the towns of Philip and Midland are formally advocating for bringing the big nuclear-waste-disposal engineering experiment to Haakon County:
Respec CEO Todd Kenner said in a telephone interview Tuesday that the company has secured letters of support from Gov. Dennis Daugaard, the city of Philip, the town of Midland, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and a handful of major businesses in Haakon County. The company has partnered with the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and representatives were set to meet with the Haakon County Commission on Tuesday [Karl Herchenroeder, “Company Explores South Dakota Site for DOE Borehole Project,” RadWaste Monitor, 2016.12.09].
DENR issued guidance on permits and regulations relevant to the Borehole proposal in October. A statement from a regulatory agency in support of a project requiring certain permits seems a little thumb-y on the scale. I’ll check with DENR and see if they can provide a copy of their “support” for drilling one or two three-mile-deep holes in Haakon County.
Of course, Borehole discussion may become moot if Rick Perry really becomes Energy Secretary and he remembers that he wants to eliminate that department.
Update 09:00 CST: Here’s the DENR’s (more specifically, the DENR Geological Survey Program’s) letter of support for the Borehole, sent to Respec on October 18. State geologist Derric L. Iles says the Borehole “would provide unprecedented information on the deep Precambrian-age rocks” under Haakon County. Iles says the data retrieved from three miles deep “could possibly be used in mineral exploration and development of geothermal reserves.”
DENR is a staunch proponent of using the best scientific research and facts available to shape environmental and natural resource management decisions. As is the case with any significant research, there are commonly unforeseen uses of information gathered and discoveries made. I suspect the same will be true with the Deep Borehole Field Test and that information will be put to immediate use in the scientific community and will ultimately be applied for societal benefit. DENR’s Geological Survey Program stands with your team of scientists and other professionals in support of the proposal [Derric L. Iles, state geologist; letter to Todd Kenner, CEO of Respec; on behalf of DENR Geological Survey Program, Vermillion, SD, 2016.10.18].