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Mine opponents voice concerns Print

By Pamela Dickman
Loveland Reporter-Herald
April 24, 2008

Three doctors cite studies, sources

MapQuest says Nunn is 40 miles and 47 minutes from Loveland.

But when it comes to a proposed uranium mine and its health and environmental risks, rural Weld County is in our backyard, said Ken Bennett, a Loveland Democrat who is challenging Don Marostica for his House District 51 seat in the Colorado Legislature.

“I’m very concerned about the safety of our air, our water, our lands,” he said Wednesday night at a town meeting in Loveland put on by Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction, a group of residents and businesspeople against the proposed mine.

“If it’s approved, the next one might be in our front yard.”

Bennett echoed the concerns of three doctors who spoke to about 30 people: Uranium mining could contaminate water, be spread by heavy rain and wind, stunt economic growth and cause cancer.

For each point, they cited official studies and sources.

But Loveland resident Thomas Sutton, a geologist also with a doctorate, didn’t necessarily buy the arguments. He asked for a bibliography of their sources to do his own research.

After all, medical doctors and others with doctorates also spoke last year at a uranium symposium, Sutton said, and they told a different story and offered different statistics.

“I got a different picture from the uranium symposium,” he said. “I don’t agree with what you’ve said.”

The symposium was sponsored by uranium mining companies, opponents said.

And, Dr. Michael Paddack added, “You can do anything you want with statistics.”

The medical doctor, who practiced in an area where there was open-pit uranium mining, said his experience convinced him of the danger; he saw more cases of cancer there than ever before or since.

Medical studies are difficult to quantify because cancer can show up 40 years down the road and, even though a person was exposed to radiation associated with uranium, he can’t prove that caused the cancer, added Dr. Ami Wangeline, a biology professor at Colorado State University and one of the speakers at the meeting.

She added, “I don’t want to find out, 20 years from now, with my kids.”

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