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Updating mining laws will protect water supplies in Weld, Larimer counties Print

by Jackie Adolph (Letter to the Editor)
Windsor Now
February 10, 2008

Uranium again! It was no surprise to me when I read about the Colorado Mining Association fighting against local government authority over mining operations. These multi-national corporations the CMA represents are notorious for leaving behind a toxic mess in water pollution. The last thing they want is to have to get approval from the community to the opening of a mine. The only way to keep this industry accountable is to protect the right of communities to reject those mining operations that threaten to harm local water supplies. The state government should make sure that mines are properly cleaned up, but local citizens deserve the right to decide whether to take the risk with a mine in the first place.

Are we shocked to see the wave of citizen outcry at the resurgence of uranium mining? Attempts to re-open mines and mills on the Western Slope seem to have their newspapers printing furiously and along the Front Range, a whole different beast is rearing it's ugly head. Not a day passes when I don't see this issue in the news. Finally this week, Colorado lawmakers are at work on updating the mining laws and strengthening protection for our water.

Colorado stands alone in the West in keeping all mineral exploration activities secret. While companies deserve to keep exploration data private, communities should be informed about mines drilling on neighboring lands and in local aquifers. Other western states have vibrant mining economies without blanket confidentiality over exploration activities. Even during the exploration phase, the aquifers are at risk. Other places, like Goliad, Texas, have experienced contamination during the exploration phase so badly that they are trying to halt all further in-situ mining activities. I wonder what has already happened in the Fox Hills aquifer due to the numerous drill holes, but that still remains secret.

I hope to see both House bills currently proposed regarding this industry pass. Please read HB 1165 and 1161; they will assist us in maintaining local control over mining and protecting our water.

Jackie Adolph lives in Wellington




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