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Keep the Black Hills Beautiful

Dear Readers,

Last Fall I wrote this email to the National Forest Service to object to destruction of necessities for the sake of non-necessities just so that a few people can get rich and powerful. It is my duty as a water protector and Ph.D. biologist to object to the Jenny Gulch Gold Exploration Drilling Project on the Mystic Ranger District, Black Hills National Forest because water is life.

“To the National Forest Service,

I am writing to demand that the Jenny Gulch Gold Exploration Drilling Project be stopped immediately. The lie that the drilling and mining have no significant environmental impact at Jenny Gulch is ridiculous. Growing up in Colorado and having a Ph.D. Geologist as a father, I have seen so many abandoned gold mines out west, and the environmental destruction is still there for everyone to see. Mining for gold has scarred the land and poisoned the water, even though gold is not required for life and water is. Furthermore, the history of mining in the Black Hills shows a significant environmental impact.

Later in his life, my father cleaned up Superfund sites until he died from a horrible cancer. The polluters have a clear history of destroying our environment, air and water while stealing and exploiting natural resources that belong to us all. Indeed, over the past seven decades, miners in the Black Hills have left cleanup to oversight agencies, creating four separate toxic Superfund sites – polluted locations that require long-term response to clean up contamination from hazardous materials including arsenic, mercury, and cyanide.

About $100 million of public money has already been spent to try and fix just one of those sites!

That does not even include health care costs of people who have suffered health consequences from all the contamination and their children and future generations.

Jenny Gulch is of particular concern because of its location at the headwaters of Rapid Creek. Toxic waste here could easily make its way downstream and affect the entire watershed, potentially threatening those who rely on it for potable water as well as recreation.

The Black Hills should not be open to mining in the first place. This is Lakota land, stolen by the U.S. government in violation of multiple treaties, as confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1980. Lands were taken under the guise of Christian Dominion. Below is a summary of the doctrine upheld that had been used to justify the wars that led to the treaties with Native Americans:

“We maintain, that the principle declared in the fifteenth century as the law of Christendom, that discovery gave title to assume sovereignty over, and to govern the unconverted natives of Africa, Asia, and North and South America, has been recognized as a part of the national law [Law of Nations], for nearly four centuries, and that it is now so recognized by every Christian power, in its political department and its judicial.” Judge John Catron for the Supreme Court of Tennessee in the case State v. Foreman (16 Tenn. (8 Yerg.) 256, 277 (1835), USA).

Eminent domain is a tenet of our current legal system whereby the government (which theoretically is the people of the USA) can take private property for public use. I hereby invoke eminent domain to take and protect all water for public use. The current “owners” are not following Christian practices, so the current ownership is null and void.


Dr. Marie Kube, Ph.D.”

I received a response from the Forest Supervisor serving as the Reviewing Officer for the Jenny Gulch Gold Exploration Drilling Project on the Mystic Ranger District, Black Hills National Forest. They wrote that my objection was not timely because it was submitted after the close of the objection period on August 22, 2022, and was set aside from review. However, the Reviewing Officer also wrote that similar issues have been raised by other objectors, and that they would respond to those objections during the administrative review process.

That gold mining on sacred land is even under consideration by white people is unacceptable.

We are destroying a necessity, water, for the sake of a non-necessity, gold that we cannot eat or drink or breathe, so that a few people can be rich. That is insanity that affects us all.

Thanks for reading. Love, Marie

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