Energy policy — nuclear: CWCB and BLM file statements of opposition to Energy Fuels’ water rights application for Piñon Ridge Mill

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From The Telluride Watch (Karen James):

The Colorado Water Conservation Board and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management also filed individual statements of opposition against the applications. The CWCB is concerned that an instream flow water right it owns on the Dolores River could be adversely affected by water rights sought by Energy Fuels, and noted the company’s lack of augmentation plan in its statement of opposition. Additionally, the application presents insufficient information to fully evaluate the extent to which the CWCB instream flow rights may be injured, the statement notes. Linda Bassi, chief of the CWCB’s Stream and Lake Protection Section, said that the filing was not unusual for her agency. “We participate in Water Court cases to get protective terms and conditions,” she continued. “It’s not to stop the application but to ensure that it’s done in a way that will protect our water rights.”

Similarly, the U.S. government holds four water rights on public lands that are adjacent to the groundwater rights being sought by Energy Fuels that the BLM is concerned may be injured, “If the application is granted without terms and conditions related to monitoring and mitigating the impacts associated with the proposed wells,” the agency’s filing states. As a result, the BLM, “Seeks to incorporate similar water rights monitoring and mitigation measures as part of the water rights decree in this case,” as those Energy Fuels has already committed to as part of a limited-term land use authorization granted by Montrose County.

Energy Fuels Chief Executive Officer George Glasier called the statements of opposition filed by the existing water rights holders “fairly standard,” and not unexpected. “It’s a process you see all the time in Colorado,” he said…

Glasier said he anticipated a series of conferences over the coming months to see if the differences with the objecting parties can be worked through. “It will be a long process over the next year at least to sort out things with the water rights,” he said.

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