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Support To-Date: 14247 People (January 15th)




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Action Alert: Uranium Mining in Northern Colorado is Still a Real Possibility Print

On May 20, 2008 Governor Bill Ritter signed House Bill 08-1161 (PDF), the Land and Water Stewardship Act of 2008, into Colorado law. On June 2nd, Senate Bill 08-228 (PDF) was enacted which would increase public disclosure of a notice, by a mining company, of intent to conduct mining operations. While passing this legislation helped tighten uranium mining laws in the state, the struggle to protect Colorado from the possible hazards of uranium mining is far from over.

The next step in the uranium regulation process will be to draft the rules that will be used to enforce the new laws. This is a critical step in making a law a reality. Colorado citizens must remain vigilant to make sure these rules are written so Colorado’s environment, water, and families are protected from uranium mining.

The State Rules Process

State agencies will write draft rules. These rules will define all the terms used in the new law, set the standards for water clean-up, and define when and how an agency informs the public as to what is happening. We need to make sure the rules are written so Colorado and its citizens are protected as the laws were intended.

An example of how the rules might fail could be in how a proposed uranium exploration permit is made public. In some states, an agency only needs to mention their plans on a website. If someone didn’t look at a particular website at the right time, they wouldn’t know an exploration drill rig planned to move in next door to them. It can make a lot of difference if an agency has to publish information about a proposed uranium exploration permit in all the local papers.

Without clearly defined terms used in the new law’s draft rules, Colorado may not have the power to enforce the protection intended by the law. An example might be if the law states the uranium mining company must clean up an “abandoned” drill hole. Without a specific definition for an “abandoned” drill hole, many questions arise. Will clean up happen when the company leaves the state, 60 days after the hole is drilled if a company doesn’t check it once a week, or is it abandoned when someone happens to check and discover the hole is not plugged?

CARD Continues to Need Your Help

After the rules are drafted, there will be one or more public hearings to take comments. Everyone who’s concerned about this issue needs to be prepared to act. It is imperative we have representation at the hearing(s) whether the hearing is held during the day or evening, in Denver or Durango.

It will be important to have people prepared to testify at the hearing(s). In addition to members of the public, experts will be needed to testify. While many experts are from the area and may testify because of their concerns about proposals to mine uranium, outside experts may be called upon to come to Colorado and testify. That costs money.

CARD continues to need your help while we prepare for the rule-making hearings. Help prevent falling property values and taxpayer-funded clean-ups of uranium companies’ messes. Please donate to this cause so we can make sure we keep our water clean and protect the local economy.

Radiation is forever, uranium mines are not.




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