The federal Atomic Safety and Licensing Board’s hearing in Crawford on the expansion of the Crow Butte uranium mine into the Marsland area was interrupted for about 90 minutes by protesters from the Oglala Sioux Tribe who demanded it be rescheduled.
The protest began when about 15 Native Americans chanted “cease and desist.” Activist Tonya Stands, who took part in the Dakota Access pipeline protests, acted as the leader of the group.
Stands demanded tribal members be included as witnesses to testify on the need for an expanded cultural survey and to serious health problems they blame on uranium pollution from the Crow Butte mine. Stands then said the tribal council was issuing a cease-and-desist order based on treaty rights to stop both the expansion and the hearing.
Tom Ballanco, the tribe’s lead attorney in the case, explained the hearing was on strictly technical geology and hydrology questions, and that the cultural survey and other similar issues had already been addressed and dismissed.
Stands had to be forcibly pulled from the hearing 90 minutes later after she was the only protester remaining. The hearing is expected to last into Thursday.