The Greeley Tribune
October 15, 2007
Standing on the west stairs of the Capitol building, bi-partisan lawmakers unveiled legislation Sunday in response to the proposed Powertech Uranium Corp. uranium mine in Nunn.
State Representatives Randy Fischer (D- Fort Collins) and John Kefalas (D-Ft. Collins) announced they are co-sponsoring a bill to be introduced into legislation in January that will protect groundwater, unveil secrecy around prospecting activities and protect landowners rights, Fischer said.
While the legislation is not aimed to shut down the proposed mining project, it will raise mining safety standards that are out of date and could prove harmful to residents of Colorado, Fischer said.
"The legislation we're proposing will meet new challenges and concerns posed by industrial mining technologies that were not anticipated by past legislatures," Fischer said.
One of those, the In-situ mining technique used by Powertech, would be the first of its kind in Colorado. It employs high-pressured chemicals and water to remove uranium from the ground. The widest criticism of this mining technique has been the contamination of the surrounding groundwater and soil.
Senator Steve Johnson (R-Fort Collins) said the 30 other places where this technique has been used were damaged by the procedure. "In almost all of those areas, if not all of those areas, there has been serious contamination of the aquifer, of the water supply and of the environment," Johnson said.
Cory Carroll, president of the Larimer County Medical Society, said the proposed mine would be a major hazard to residents of Colorado. The society has already passed a resolution opposing uranium mining.
"Powertech, the company that is filing for permission to mine uranium, states candidly they will do no harm," Carroll said. "This is a fantasy. They will do harm. How much and the extent is the only unknown."
The announcement comes on the heels of a community meeting Saturday night that was attended by approximately 200 residents of the Nunn area. There, U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, along with many others, announced her opposition to the proposed mine.
Residents have also gathered 3,700 signatures on a petition stating the residents' opposition to the proposed mine.
John Schreck, a landowner near Weld County Road 110, believes the legislation is needed.
"The public has finally spoken and legislatures are finally listening, and this is a very important step," Schreck said.
Garrit Voshel, a resident who lives near the proposed mine, agreed, underscoring the negative affect the proposed mine would have on nearby residents.
"This could destroy our way of life," Voshel said.