by Jason Kosena
Fort Collins Coloradoan
December 5, 2007
City Council voted 6-0, with Wade Troxell abstaining, for a resolution opposing a possible uranium mine northeast of Fort Collins.
Health concerns and environmental impacts prompted more than 30 residents to wait in line late into the night to speak to the council in support of the resolution against the proposed mine by Powertech (USA) in Weld County.
"Once the boom goes bust, the companies typically leave a radioactive mess that the taxpayers are left trying to clean up," city resident Reed Woodruff said.
Powertech officials, who were not invited to present information to council but spoke with other residents during public comment, asked council to table the resolution until they have a chance to discuss the project with council and city staff.
"We understand there are community concerns about our proposed operations, but a position on this should not be taken on the fear of the unknown," said James Bonner, vice president of exploration for Powertech. "I think they should look at both sides of the issue before passing a resolution here tonight."
City staff was unable to answer many council questions about the proposed project, including what the size the project would be, how many acres it would encompass, how much uranium would be mined, the strength of the regulatory process involved and who owns the land in question, among others.
"I am concerned (that) the lack of a data-driven approach here tonight is bad public policy, shines badly on this council, is not a (standard) we should be setting for this council," Troxell said.
City Manager Darin Atteberry explained the lack of information to council.
"If you want staff to take the time to give you a recommendation that is more scientifically based ... if you want more detail prior to passing this resolution, we will need more time to study that," Atteberry said. "Based on the information that we have, I think it's fair to say staff has strong concerns. Is this atypical for us? Yes, usually we spend more time getting data on these kinds of things. But with the limited information we have, staff has strong concerns."