Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Tribes ask court to stop range

Tribes ask court to stop range
By Bill Cissell, Journal Staff Writer Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Four American Indian tribes and a volunteer organization composed primarily of Indian people want the federal court to stop construction of a shooting range north of Sturgis and Bear Butte.

The Northern Cheyenne, Rosebud Sioux, Crow Creek Sioux and Yankton Sioux tribes and Defenders of the Black Hills filed a motion Friday in U.S. District Court in Rapid City for a preliminary injunction to stop the spending of federal dollars on the Black Hills Sportsman's Complex.

Named in the suit as defendants are U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Mel Martinez, Black Hills Council of Local Governments, Sturgis Industrial Expansion Corp., the city of Sturgis and Black Hills Sportsman's Complex.

The noise from the range, about four miles north of Bear Butte, will be a distraction to tribal ceremonies, according to court documents. The tribes also claim they should have been part of the planning process and didn't know anything about the shooting range until former Gov. Bill Janklow approved it late last year.

Proponents of the facility say the range will provide a much-needed practice and training area for shooting organizations, local law enforcement officials and others. The Black Hills is also home to almost a dozen gun- and ammunition-manufacturing businesses that could use the range to test and demonstrate new products.

Complex officials said they would have no comment on the issue because it is now in court.

Charmaine White Face, a spokeswoman for Defenders of the Black Hills, said she didn't know when the court might act but said there is a request for the court to act quickly.

Contact Bill Cissell at 394-8412 or bill.cissell@rapidcityjournal.com


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