Crying Earth Rise Up

About This Episode


When Debra White Plume’s drinking water tests high for radiation, she sets out to determine the cause. What she finds alarms her. A nearby uranium mining operation is extracting ore from deep in the ground by tapping the High Plains/Ogllala Aquifer, a huge underground cache of water covering 174,000 square miles from Texas to South Dakota which supplies drinking water to 82 percent of the people who live within the aquifer boundary. The mine's planned expansion further threatens the aquifer.

At a public hearing in Hot Springs, SD, Lakota tribal members and white ranchers sound off about pending permits that would expand the uranium mining industry in the area. The question on the table among those assembled boils down to this: Can we afford the depletion and possible contamination of our water supply?

Crying Earth Rise Up is an intimate portrait of the human cost of uranium mining and its impact on sacred water. It tells a timely story of protecting land, water and a way of life.