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About Powertech's smoke and mirrors Print

by Jeff Dunn
Guest Commentary
Greeley Tribune
October 29, 2007

Enough is enough! It's time for Coloradans to send Powertech packing. Maybe it would help if residents understood that this is not just a northern Colorado problem.

The Laramie-Fox Hills Aquifer, which stretches from Wyoming to Colorado Springs and from Boulder to Brush, will be in danger of becoming contaminated from Powertech's proposed uranium mine. It does not affect just a few farmers and a couple of small towns that most people don't know exist. It has the potential to affect millions of residents along the Front Range.

In the Oct. 18 Tribune, Richard Blubaugh, vice president of Environmental Health and Safety Resources for Powertech (USA) Inc. states, "The ground water in the uranium ore zones is not used for drinking and likely never will be." However, he goes on to say that it is heavily contaminated and that it will be controlled and contained.

First, trying to control and contain water in the earth's crust is like saying if you have a thousand grains of sand and toss them into the wind, you will be able to find all of the exact same thousand grains of sand. In other words, impossible! This is the same ground that has thousands of cracks, faults and various other imperfections that knowingly connect one layer to another, including aquifers. In other words, it is impossible to guarantee 100 percent containment once they disturb it!

Second, Blubaugh wants us to believe it is safe. If that were the case, there wouldn't be all the "regulations" and "requirements of the law" that he speaks of. He then claims that opponents of the mine claim these same regulations and laws will be overlooked. Nobody ever said they will be overlooked, but since he likes facts, it is a documented fact that some regulations have been loosened after stiff lobbying from mining companies so they can meet the clean-up requirements after spills and contamination.

Third, Blubaugh wants you to go to Powertech's Web site and read all the warm and fuzzy things it has to say about Powertech and uranium mining, calling anything else a "myth." Duh! Of course he wants us to go to their site. He works for Powertech, and they are certainly not going to admit to anything that is harmful or even deadly. This is an insult to intelligence to think we would believe only what Powertech says.

He claims to rely so heavily on facts, but then ignores that all or nearly all uranium mining projects have left damage to the environment, the water or both, and that it invariably leaves the cleanup and cost to taxpayers.

He has a lot to say about "the law," but "the law" is only paper and cannot prevent irreversible damage if a major spill or contamination occurs. We should not be impressed with Blubaugh's "matter-of-fact" attitude, any more than Lane Douglas' statements in a Sept. 24 Tribune article that he likes fruit and pretty flowers. Lane wants us to feel good about an elderly woman who doesn't care one way or the other. Of course she doesn't, by his own statement; she lives most of the year in Minnesota, and the homes on her property are abandoned. No worries, huh?

If there is any doubt that we are serious about this, then our elected officials need to also understand that "We the People" gave them their jobs and "We the People" can take them away! Say "no" to uranium mining in Colorado!

Jeff Dunn and his family live in northern Colorado.




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