From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Bobby Magill):
[Fort Collins resident Diane Marschke] and about 15 others confronted U.S. Environ-mental Protection Agency officials at the Nunn Community Center with their opinions about a proposed water pump test that will tell Powertech if its in situ leaching method of uranium mining is viable in the area. To conduct the test, the company needs a “Class V” permit from the EPA, which will allow Powertech to pump water out of the uranium-containing Fox Hills aquifer, store it, then reinject the water back into the aquifer. The permit will not allow the company to mine for uranium. Powertech will be responsible for doing its own tests on the integrity of the well hole and casing, which are meant to ensure the water will not contaminate aquifers above the area where the water is being reinjected, said Valois Shea of the EPA Underground Injection Control Program…
The pump test permitting process has been going on for nearly a year, and a public comment period ends Thursday. The EPA’s final decision on the permit is expected sometime in early 2010.
Most who spoke Monday night spoke passionately against the pump test and proposed mine, most of them fearing the pump test will stir up contaminants and harm drinking water quality. “Powertech is testing their own wells,” Fort Collins resident Scott Horak said. “They’re monitoring their own situation. It’s like the fox guarding the hen house. It isn’t gonna work.”[…]
One of the few who spoke in favor of the pump test was Erik Nelson, a mining engineer who lives near the Powertech site. He said any contaminants from the test won’t go farther than the well head, and neither the test nor the mine pose any hazard to the groundwater.
More coverage from Jakob Rodgers writing for The Greeley Tribune. From the article:
Should the EPA grant the permit, Mylott said Powertech hopes to draw water up through a pipe and store it in containers. After testing it to determine the quality of the water and how the aquifer recharges, the water would then be placed back into the aquifer unprocessed. The company has yet to file for a class III permit to actually mine uranium at the site, Mylott said. Once it does, Mylott said there would be another public comment period before a final decision is made…
Meg Corwin, the regional director for U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., also spoke at the meeting. She read a letter sent by Bennet and U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey, D-Colo., to the agency noting their constituents’ concerns and urging the agency to make the rule-making process public. The meeting was the second public comment meeting concerning the class V permit — the first meeting was held in July. The comment period is open through Thursday, Mylott said. Comments gathered until then will factor into the agency’s decision on whether to grant the permit, he said.
More nuclear coverage hereand here.