Monday, December 13, 2010

South Dakota's Republican administrations piss DUSEL down legs

Let's be clear: ip unwaveringly supports the Lab at the former Homestake, warts and all.

In the years after the thunderstorm at Orman Dam, a quest for redemption overtook me.  I pursued numerous concepts nearly simultaneously. A recycling initiative that would look much like the MRF does today would have been based in Lead where the mining infrastructure vacated by Homestake's closure would be adapted. Metals, paper, plastics, glass, the whole schmear. The Janklow administration, right?

The ice climbing park concept got floated and rejected and forgotten for a few cycles. Still is.

Not long after the September 11 attacks and the anthrax hysteria, during an interview on SDPB Radio with then-governor Bill Janklow, a caller asked whether survivable space might be considered for the former Homestake Mine. After a familiar, but brief, tirade, BJ the DJ said, "I can't talk about that."

In 2003, Barrick announced the surplus of several properties.  ip led a group of investors to the Ross Compressor Plant, a magnificent architectural masterpiece that housed the three leviathan compressors that had provided most of the pneumatic needs for the mine.  They drove hundreds of miles of line lovingly and were meticulously maintained by union workers for at least seven decades. The winning proposal for the property would gain ownership of these massive machines.

Having realized that these machines could slow water filling the mine, I attempted multiple contacts with the Rounds administration. Calls and emails to Jamie Rounds went unreturned. We presented our proposal to purchase that would have moved the compressors to a mining museum, preferably local. The winning bidder sold them for scrap.

And the craziest part? The Homestake represents 8000 feet closer to the geothermal potential capable of powering much of the region.

Here is David Newquist's fine synopsis of South Dakota's race for the bottom. David Montgomery said it like this.

Stupid, stupid state.

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