The Philip Pioneer Review and Native Sun News report on the first big public meeting hosted in Philip February 7 by RESPEC (ah! REsearch SPECialists! Now I get it!) on the Deep Borehole Field Test. Over a hundred people heard the following:
RESPEC CEO Todd Kenner repeated that the Borehole will bring no nuclear waste to Haakon County:
There is no waste involved with this project. This site will never be used for storage or disposal. We will have a legal obligation to plug and abandon both those holes and restore the site [Todd Kenner, in Talli Nauman, “‘Deep Borehole’ Test in Lakota Territory Stirs ‘Deep Concern’,” Native Sun News, 2017.02.15].
Kenner says RESPEC as a firm supports House Bill 1071, which would subject any nuclear waste disposal (which the Borehole isn’t) to a vote of the Legislature. (HB 1071 has passed the House and awaits Senate State Affairs’ attention.)
Another RESPEC engineer says he wouldn’t be involved if the Borehole involved nuclear waste:
Jay Nopola, RESPEC staff engineer, said they are interested in the science objectives. “If this project involved nuclear waste, I wouldn’t be part of it. I’m here because I believe in it” [Nancy Haigh, “Groups Meet to Discuss Proposed Haakon County Borehole Project,” Philip Pioneer Review, 2017.02.15].
Regarding noise pollution, most people will never hear anything other than the resident about one mile from the site and the landowner, Julian Roseth. Roseth noted many area residents operate grain dryers and he did not expect the noise to be worse than them [Haigh, 2017.02.15].
No words offered by project engineers will matter, since opponents of the project will invariably appeal to unrebuttable fears and hypotheticals:
Gregg Jankord, Chamberlain,… stated his concern is if they prove they can do a borehole successfully in South Dakota they could come back and use the location. Maybe not use that borehole, but drill another.
…While this administration, whether in Washington, D.C., or Pierre, may not want nuclear waste in South Dakota a future one could [Haigh, 2017.02.15].
…and blanket indictments of every word spoken:
…Jen Jones noted she does like Kenner and Nopola and others involved. “These guys are likable. I like talking to them,” she said. “I want you all to remember this is not REPEC’S project. It is the Department of Energy’s,” she said. “In my mind RESPEC is going to do what they have said. It will look good for them, the School of Mines, and South Dakota. This is the Department of Energy’s project…to solve Department of Energy’s storage disposal of nuclear waste” [Haigh, 2017.02.15].
…because no one trusts the federal government, especially not our Lakota neighbors:
Three-time elected Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Councilor Bryce In The Woods spoke at the meeting about the violation of the treaties as a reason for mistrusting the company’s promise to keep radioactive waste out of the picture.
“Once the School of Mines learns a lot of good things,” nuclear waste disposal will follow, he warned. “This is what they are going to do. You’re going to be looking at leaking out,” he said. “From the point of view of our treaties with the United States, they’ve broken all of them,” he told a standing-room-only crowd of at least 100 people assembled in Philip at the meeting that Respec billed as the first of a number [Nauman, 2017.02.15].
RESPEC will beat its head against more walls at tonight’s public meeting in Midland at Trinity Lutheran Church, starting at 5 p.m.