Cameco’s Crow Butte uranium mine near Crawford, NE began operating in 1991 and stopped production in 2018. Cameco now projects that groundwater restoration will continue until at least 2040, but nowhere in the world has a company successfully returned an aquifer to pre-mining condition after in-situ leach uranium mining. Crow Butte sits up-gradient from Pine Ridge. The mine sits between two creeks which feed directly into the White River. Read about Crow Butte’s violations and spills here.

Crow Butte Mine map (Cameco)

Despite operations at Crow Butte being suspended, the company is continuing with their license renewal attempts, which have been ongoing since 2008. Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST) and several other intervenors (now considered Consolidated Intervenors) have formally challenged this license renewal, and the lawsuit is ongoing.

In 2014, OST filed renewed and new contentions in this matter.

Cameco and the NRC are now attempting to conduct a cultural resources survey at the site. Cameco is offering OST a $5000 honorarium as well as a $175/day stipend for up to four OST representatives for ten days for the survey.

Access more documents related to this ongoing case here (scroll down to Crow_Butte_Resources_40-8943-OLA).

In 2007, Crow Butte began the process of seeking license approval for their North Trend expansion, and in 2015 Crow Butte asked the NRC to discontinue work on the North Trend Expansion application. In 2009, the approval process for Three Crow began, and in 2019, Cameco requested that the Three Crow application be removed from consideration. 

Proposed Crow Butte expansions map (Cameco via Star Herald)

Cameco is now focusing on the Marsland Expansion project. In 2013, Oglala Sioux Tribe and consolidated intervenors intervened against this proposed expansion. In April 2018, the NRC released a final Environmental Assessment for the Marsland Expansion. In October 2018, the NRC held an evidentiary hearing concerning OST’s Contention 2, which raises water environmental issues regarding the proposed expansion project. OST’s Contention 1 raised concerns about the project’s failure to protect cultural and historic resources.

The NRC dismissed this Contention 1 in 2014, in violation of sovereignty and rights protected by treaty and federal law. The license amendment for the Marsland Expansion, issued in May 2018, is under appeal. Legal action and attention is needed to stay relevant in this process.

Read more here and access the NRC documents regarding this proposed expansion here (scroll down to Crow_Butte_Rsrces_40-8943-MLA-2).

Interactive project map

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