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Uranium mining opponents gather from region Print

By Jon Pilsner
Loveland Reporter-Herald
June 22, 2008

NUNN — Clustered around a table in the middle of land supposedly fertile for uranium mining, members of a variety of anti-uranium-mining groups came together Saturday morning in a show of solidarity against mining on their lands.

Representatives from the groups, South Dakota-based ACTion for the Environment, the Western Nebraska Resources Council, Save Our South Park Water, the Tallahassee Area Community from Fremont County, and Northern Colorado-based Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction, all spoke out against their common enemy — uranium mining companies.

The five representatives spoke out against proposed in-situ leach mining, in which water is pumped into the ground, then brought back up to the surface with uranium ore in it. A Canadian uranium company, Powertech Uranium Corp., has proposed operating an open and in-situ mine in rural Weld County, between Nunn and Wellington.

Their argument was that uranium mining would lead to water and land contamination, although the participants from areas with mining activity had few specific examples of the effects in their areas.

“We’ve seen increases in arsenic and other heavy metals and uranium in the water supplies, as well as at stream level,” said Buffalo Bruce with Western Nebraska Resources Council, adding that those impacts come from uranium mines in western Nebraska from decades ago that were not properly taken care of.

All the members in attendance, at Mustang Hollow Ranch northwest of Nunn, said public opinion is overwhelmingly against opening uranium mines in the area.

Gary Heckenlaible, from South Dakota, said he’s seen numbers that show increased cancer levels in areas in South Dakota near uranium mines, but that many locals are just living with what the mines have left behind.

All participants also spoke out against not only the mining itself, but also the exploration and drilling for uranium ore in the ground.

Jim Hawklee, president of the Tallahassee Area Community, said even the process by which mining companies look for ore — by drilling large rods of land out of the ground — can lead to water contamination.

“We all have common concerns about our water, our local economies, our health and our way of life,” said Robin Davis, one of the owners of the ranch, in a prepared statement.

“Wherever people are from, we have the same message: uranium mining is unclean, unsafe and unwanted.”

Jon Pilsner can be reached at 669-5050, ext. 539, or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it




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