By Kacia Munshaw
March 26, 2008
LONGMONT — Facing the prospect of uranium mining in Weld County, Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction hope to educate Longmont residents during an informational meeting tonight.
“This is about our 20th meeting,” said Jackie Adolph, chairwoman for CARD’s outreach committee. “We’ve been presenting these meetings about once a month to go over the health risks and impacts on the community uranium mining has.”
Tonight’s Longmont meeting runs from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Front Range meeting room in the Radisson Conference Center, 1850 Industrial Circle.
The current focus for the organization is Powertech Uranium Corp.’s Centennial Project, a proposed in-situ leach mine near Nunn. The operation would use Laramie-Fox Hills aquifer water, which provides domestic and livestock water throughout the area, for uranium mining.
“That aquifer spreads water throughout the whole state,” Adolph said. “The products mining leaves behind are heavy metals that go radioactive. There is no safe level of radioactivity.”
According to John Hall, a spokesman for Powertech, a project has to go through five quarters of data collection during the permit application before any decisions or further steps can be made. This is to ensure that the mining site is adequate and safe.
The Centennial Project is nearing the end of its second quarter, he said.
During the meeting, medical field officials, state representatives and civil engineers, along with members of CARD, will present information about the potential hazards in areas surrounding uranium mining.
“We are going to be presenting those multifaceted issues that have come about with this,” Adolph said.
House Bills 1161 and 1165, proposed to protect water from in-situ uranium mining — a type of mining that uses ground water as a mining tool — will also be discussed.
Officials from Powertech said they will not be at the meeting but stressed that the proposed project will not harm the water.
In a presentation provided by Powertech, officials said that residents and livestock could continue living next to a site and drinking the water without fear of contamination. Waste water from the mining process, which constitutes 1 percent to 3 percent of the water used during production, is bled into a pond, then sent to an approved waste site.
The process also has mechanisms in place to ensure no metals are leaked into the water stream, Hall said.
He also noted in the presentation that there are no historical cases in the United States where such mining has done long-term harm to people or the environment and no U.S. in-situ mine has ever contaminated drinking water supplies.
CARD got its start after proposals for uranium mining started to show up in Colorado, Adolph said. The organization’s goal is to prevent uranium mining by educating the community and working with legislators to pass laws against it.
“This isn’t just a backyard issue. It affects the entire state,” Adolph said.
Kacia Munshaw can be reached at 303-684-5334 or at