Saturday, April 18, 2015

Lawsuit slowing state land grab in Spearfish Canyon



Land stolen from the tribal signatories of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 appears to be going to a corrupt red state again.
The Spearfish Canyon Foundation would purchase a 73-acre tract that includes Spearfish Falls and donate it the department, according to Doug Hofer, director for the state Division of Parks and Recreation. The property was appraised at $1,225,000 but foundation officials are attempting to secure it for a smaller amount, Hofer said. [Black Hills Pioneer]
But a wrench has been thrown into the giveaway machinery:
A complaint of violation of easement law and resulting nuisance was filed Dec. 5, 2014, in Lawrence County by plaintiffs Kathy Romano, Chris Romano, and Debra Jilka against defendants the Homestake Mining Company; Arleth Land Surveying, LLC; Spearfish Canyon Foundation; Jerry J. Boyer; and South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks (GF&P). Todd Duex, closure manager for Homestake, declined to comment on the lawsuit citing company policy to not comment on cases in active litigation. [Black Hills Pioneer]
Todd Duex is the local representative for the Canadian firm. It owns most of the rights to water in the Northern Black Hills: water destined for the proposed Deadwood Standard Project.

Bill Harlan reported a previous swindle:
Homestake and its parent company, Barrick Gold Corp. of Toronto, have agreed to those terms, but GF&P Secretary John Cooper warned that if the state doesn't act, some of the most spectacular scenery in the Black Hills could end up in private hands. "Without public acquisition of these lands, it appears inevitable, that Barrick will sell these lands to developers that seek to build trophy homes," Cooper wrote in a letter accompanying his proposal. He argued that even Roughlock Falls could become privately owned, "thus locking out a public treasure." Money for the $3.3 million deal would not come from taxpayers, Cooper said. In fact, most of it would come from Homestake. Cooper hopes to use about $3.1 million that the state already has been awarded as compensation for cyanide and other hazardous substances Homestake dumped into Whitewood Creek for decades. The creek was named a Superfund site in 1981, but Homestake completed restoration in 1994, and the creek was taken off the Superfund list in 1996. In 1997, however, South Dakota and Indian tribes sued Homestake. The settlement established the Whitewood Creek Restoration Fund. The state's share of the complicated settlement was about $2.7 million, which has grown with interest to about $3.1 million. Cooper hopes to use that money to buy the Homestake land.
While tribes are forced to raise $9 million to buy their own land, the State of South Dakota is bribed to just take it.

No comments: