The Greeley Tribune
by Sharon Dunn
and Andra Coberly
September 26, 2007
FORT COLLINS -- It was supposed to be Bev Ensley's little retirement home on the range.
Years ago, the Fort Collins resident acquired property in rural Weld County, half of which she planned to sell. The other half she would keep for herself, a place to build a home, a place to watch the wind bend the tall carpet of dry grass and the antelope frolic.
The Opposition Grows
"I bought it 'cause I wanted an out-of-the-way, peaceful place," she said.
As far as Ensley is concerned, it's all a pipe dream now. The property sits just miles from Powertech Uranium Corp.'s Centennial Project, a site between Nunn in northern Weld and Wellington and about 10 miles from Fort Collins.
Powertech owns the mineral rights to more than 5,760 acres of land in Weld; the company plans to drill wells and extract the increasingly profitable mineral. Powertech's northern Colorado project is still several years and several permits away from being up and extracting.
Ensley is not alone in opposing the project. In fact, the resistance of and attention on the project has jumped in just months, organizers say.
"We have so many volunteers, I don't even recognize who they are anymore," said Robin Davis, one of the leaders opposing Powertech's plans.
Coloradans Against Resource Destruction continues to bring attention to and petition against the proposed uranium-mining project. After having several meetings in rural northern Colorado near the site, CARD has started efforts in Fort Collins, attracting more than 200 residents.
When Davis started nunnglow.com in March, few residents were aware of the project, she said, and few were aware of the issues that surround uranium mining; critics of the different processes of uranium mining cite environmental, health and economic impacts, especially groundwater contamination.
CARD has collected about 2,000 signatures on its petition, which encourages state and county officials to "avoid providing any permits that would allow uranium mining until all questions ... are answered by those who propose to mine" and to make regulations against in situ leaching, which has been found to contaminate groundwater. Larimer County Commissioners Randy Eubanks and Kathay Rennels were in attendance Tuesday night.
The awareness of potential environmental and health impacts of the project are what Jones attributes to the increase in support.
"Once people understand the impacts on their water, that's when they really become concerned," she said. "You can live without other things, but you can't live without water."
During the meeting, residents were told about environmental, economic and health impacts that could affect the area around the Centennial Project site.
All of them worry Ensley, who already expects her property values to have decreased.
"Now it's worthless to sell, and I don't even know if I want to live there," she said. "I don't blame others for wanting to leave, too."