By John C. Ensslin
Rocky Mountain News
October 15, 2007
Several northern Colorado lawmakers Sunday vowed to introduce a bill in January that would impose more stringent requirements on uranium mining, in response to one company's plans for a project in Weld County.
The four lawmakers outlined their plans during a rain-soaked rally on the steps of the state Capitol that drew about 45 people, two horses, several 4-H youngsters and one sheet cake covered with yellow icing and a "radioactive" symbol.
"This is a yellow cake. I would not be holding the real thing," quipped Daryl Burkhart, of Nunn, one of the residents who got a letter from Powertech USA Inc., announcing its interest in developing what the company called its Centennial Project.
"The more we learned about this project, the more we learned it's not a good thing for Colorado," Burkhart said. The group braved a steady drizzle and noise from the nearby finish line of the Denver Marathon.
Dr. Cory Carroll, of Fort Collins, said the Larimer County Medical Society opposes the mining and that a similar measure is pending before the Colorado Medical Society.
Powertech officials could not be reached for comment Sunday. According to a July 31 news release on the company's Web site, Powertech has gotten state approval to proceed with prospecting operations that include drilling "16 rotary holes, six core holes and additional monitoring wells" in Weld County.
Weld County Commission Chairman David E. Long said the company has made some inquiries to the planning department, but no land-use application permits have been filed.
At the rally, Fort Collins Democratic Reps. Randy Fischer and John Kefalas, and Sens. Steve Johnson, R-Fort Collins, and Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, echoed concerns.
Fischer said the proposed legislation would be aimed at protecting groundwater and air quality and ensuring property owners' rights. "We have the ability to enact 21st century laws to address the risks posed by 21st century mining," he said.
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