by Jakob Rodgers
The Greeley Tribune
November 30, 2007
In the cold room in Nunn Town Hall, three members of the state legislature fielded heated questions from about 100 residents of Nunn and its surrounding area who are concerned about the proposed uranium mine in north Weld County.
State Reps. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, and Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, spent nearly two hours Thursday night as resident after resident stepped up to the microphone and aired their sentiments, claiming their livelihoods were at stake.
The Centennial Project north of Nunn contains 5,760 acres of land, which Powertech Uranium Corp., a Canadian company, has purchased the mineral rights. The company estimates 9.7 million pounds of uranium lie beneath that land.
Going into the meeting -- put on by a residents' group called Stewards of the Land -- all three lawmakers stressed that they were there merely to gain information and receive input on the issue of uranium mining, and that they had not formed an opinion.
"I learned a lot more and I became more convinced that we've got to be very insistent that we not jeopardize the water or the air," Lundberg said. "I'm still, like Representative Sonnenburg said, gaining enough information to know exactly what our course needs to be, but it cannot jeopardize those permanent resources of northern Colorado."
The residents focused on many issues involving Powertech's proposed in-situ mining process, which has drawn considerable ire the past few months as thousands of people across the region have joined anti-uranium mining groups, according to H. Mike Williams, the outreach chairman of Coloradoans Against Resource Development. Claiming the proposed mine will harm the underground aquifer and devalue the property and land they own, residents tried to send a strong message Thursday to lawmakers that they need to do their research before allowing the mine to be developed.
After the meeting, Jay Davis, who has been heavily involved in the effort against the mine, said he wasn't sure if the meeting swayed any opinions among the lawmakers.
"I think it's more an educational for them right now, too," Davis said. "I mean, if I can give them as much education as possible, that's my intent. And anything that came out of here that they take with them, that's great."
Davis is the founder of the Coloradoans Against Resource Development and the Web site, www.nunnglow.com.
The uranium mine has met strict opposition from residents of Nunn and its surrounding area. On Oct. 14, state Reps. Randy Fischer (D-Ft. Collins) and John Kefalas (D-Ft. Collins) announced they would announce legislation in January to update the Colorado mining safety standards, and on Nov. 13, U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar (D.-Colo) said he would contact the Environmental Protection Agency to consider the water that could possibly be affected by the mine.