The Greeley Tribune
November 14, 2007
Another Colorado lawmaker is voicing concern about the proposed uranium mine located north of Nunn.
U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., said Tuesday he was asking the Environmental Protection Agency to keep northern Colorado's water in mind when the agency reviews the project for a permit.
Salazar wrote to Robert Roberts, regional administrator for the EPA, urging him to address several concerns about possible environmental impacts, such as groundwater contamination as a result of the extraction process employed at uranium mines. Salazar asked that those concerns be addressed and analyzed as thoroughly as possible when the project's application for an Underground Injection Control Program Class III permit is reviewed by the EPA.
Salazar said he was concerned that the EPA's review process will only take into account the Laramie-Fox Hills aquifer, which is in the immediate vicinity of the proposed mine. He wants the EPA to also consider any potential impact on the larger Denver Basin aquifer system.
Salazar also requested a summary of the known history of environmental impacts of in-situ mining under EPA's Underground Injection Control Program, in the local area and throughout the United States. He also wants the EPA to provide a summary of its experience with the contamination remediation at in-situ leaching mines.
Salazar said water was the lifeblood of Colorado.
"It is critical that the citizens of northern Colorado receive the most complete and thorough examination of the potential impacts and risks this project may pose to their communities and their groundwater," he said in a statement.
The Centennial Project, north of Nunn and between that town and Wellington, contains 5,760 acres of land to which Powertech has purchased mineral rights. The company estimates 9.7 million pounds of uranium lie beneath a 15-mile chunk of northern Colorado, and efforts to get local, state and federal permits are under way.
A group of residents who live near the mine is leading the opposition to the company's efforts at getting the required permits. Opponents -- which include the Larimer County Medical Society, a local group called Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction, and most recently, U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave -- have expressed concerns about groundwater contamination, the possibility of radioactive material leaching into the environment, and devaluation of land, which some claim has already started.
Powertech officials say they will get all the required permits to make sure the extraction process, which uses groundwater to leach out the uranium, will be as safe and environmentally friendly as possible.
Where To Go
Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction will hold a town hall meeting to update residents on activities in trying to stop uranium mining in northern Colorado.
WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday
WHERE: Evergreen Room of the Windsor Community Recreation Center, 250 N. 11th St., Windsor.