From the Telluride Daily Planet (Matthew Beaudin):
The commissioners voted 3-0 to approve the Piñon Ridge Mill, put forth by Energy Fuels Inc. Now, Energy Fuels must collect approval from the Colorado Department of Health and the Environment — a process opponents pledge will be heavily contested. The approval the company collected in Montrose was laden with 19 conditions, meaning the company must address county concerns such how much ore it processes per day. Commissioners also made a condition allowing them to tack on even more conditions in the future, cracking a door for more review.
The 880-acre project site is on private land zoned for agricultural use, not for industrial operations like processing ore, thus meriting a special use permit from Montrose County. The mill has torn an otherwise quiet region in two. Supporters say the revival of the uranium industry can create much-needed jobs in an area short of them and that uranium is the area’s roots — ore pulled from the earth went toward the Manhattan Project and shot life into boom towns like Naturita and now-bust Uravan. Opponents, meanwhile, say that the industry is part of the past and sickened people and the land alike and claim its environmental effects will be too great — from affecting crops to impacting tourism.