Energy policy — nuclear: Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction files petition with EPA over the agency’s decision to grant Powertech an aquifer pumping test permit

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From the Colorado Independent (David O. Williams):

Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction (C.A.R.D.) filed an appeal with the EPA alleging the regulatory agency didn’t look at Powertech pump tests from 2008 before issuing a permit to allow another pump test out of the Upper Fox Hills Formation to collect hydrogeologic information needed to ultimately approve the Centennial project. The proposed mine is about 15 miles northeast of Fort Collins. C.A.R.D. insists those tests will reveal the true integrity of the underground layers that separate the Upper Fox Hills Formation — which contains uranium, radium, antimony and iron exceeding federal water quality standards — from the overlying Laramie Formation, which doesn’t contain unsafe levels of minerals and is used as a source of drinking water. The in-situ leach mining process of extracting uranium uses large quantities of water, which then must be reclaimed. “While on the surface the permit appeared complete, a detailed review showed that critical information was lacking,” said Jay Davis, a C.A.R.D. co-founder whose Mustang Hollow Ranch is next to the proposed Centennial project. “As we’ve said from the beginning, we want the EPA to apply a high standard to protect our groundwater, and that includes reviewing all relevant information.”

It’s also hoped EPA review of Powertech’s 2008 tests before allowing more pump testing will reveal the extent to which thousands of uranium exploration bore holes drilled in the area in the late 1970s might have degraded the containment layers between the two water aquifers…

A Powertech attorney at the time [when Powertech filed their lawsuit against the new regulations spawned by H.B. 08-1161] told The Colorado Independent that the company’s legal challenge had nothing to do with higher costs. “If you want to narrow it down, it’s a resource issue in terms of utilizing more water resources to make sure that you meet the mandate and bring water quality back to background or better, which is what the rule states, and of course that’s what the legislation states,” said John Fognani of Fognani and Fought law firm. “At the end of the day it’s really the water resource issue.”

More Powertech coverage here and here. More nuclear coverage here and here.

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