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Project will have impact on Fort Collins Print

Editorial by Carolyn Bartlett
Fort Collins Coloradoan
October 25, 2007

Being a townie, I have only visited the nearby Nunn area two times - the first was 25 years ago.

A friend invited me to the farm where she grew up, hoping I might understand how she loved it. It was beautiful, in a "no one around for miles" kind of way. The second time was to attend the information meeting July 20, hosted by the Canadian mining company Power Tech. It was interesting to see the land again. It is different now, more subdivisions and an inordinate number of For Sale signs.

The meeting was packed. Rather than stand together and allow questions, company representatives sectioned themselves into different areas of "specialization." This allowed them to pass people back and forth to avoid difficult questions, leading to inevitable ... "but he just said I should ask you."

Lane Douglas, the land and project manager, was fielding concerns from one group. Under fire, he conceded that property values were falling sharply, but he insisted the company was intending to make their mining endeavor "safe." When one person asked if he could guarantee the project would be free of dangerous consequences, he said, "of course nothing in life is guaranteed." Under the barrage of questions, Douglas admitted this was a difficult part of his job. "People don't like to see you?" I asked. "Sometimes they do," he replied, "When I sit down with them over their kitchen table and they see what is in it for them."

A couple was telling their story. They moved to the Nunn area, investing everything they had in their land, built the barn first and lived in it until they could afford to buy materials and build their house. They were enjoying their dream until Power Tech arrived. Their land would be worth nothing to them if the mining proceeded; even now it was worth less than they paid for it. Nothing sells there since the miners staked their claim. Douglas tried to convince them that Power Tech would be a good neighbor. The couple wasn't buying it, and they had the sympathy of anyone in earshot. Finally Douglas said, "Let's sit down over your kitchen table - or you name the place - let's talk." Seeming calmer, they let him know how to reach them.

The meeting was full of people suffering overwhelming anxiety. There is good reason for their fears. Declining property values are a leading indicator of a bad place to live.

Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction, a group of local residents and scientists, are attempting to inform us about the implications and history of uranium mining in general and Power Tech in particular. They are working against deep pockets as they try to get the rest of us to take notice.

Some of our representatives are paying attention. State lawmakers John Kefalas, Randy Fischer and Steve Johnson are working hard. Even U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave took a public stand to allow more time for the residents to evaluate how selenium and other byproducts of the proposed mining effort will damage the water and land. This is in spite of the fact she has a history of supporting uranium-mining interests. No word yet from Gov. Ritter.

If you think unearthed uranium will not affect you, think again. We can't see it from here, but the proposed open-pit mining (which is part of the project) will be as close as 10 miles from Fort Collins. Want to know how this might change your life? The facts are available at www.NUNNGlow.com.

Carolyn Bartlett lives in Fort Collins.




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