Energy policy — nuclear: Environmental groups send letter to CPDHE over license for the proposed Piñon Ridge uranium mill

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Here’s the letter from the Colorado Independent. Here’s an excerpt:

The approval of this mill would likely lead to degradation of the environment, economy and health of the region. And as the developers of the mill recently told the state’s major newspaper, uranium mined in the region and processed at the mill will likely be shipped abroad to Asia – leaving Colorado taxpayers and local residents to cope with problems that will certainly come from this new mill.

We do not believe that the short‐term benefits of a uranium boom will outweigh the abundant agricultural and recreational economic opportunities in the Dolores River Canyon.

In the past the uranium industry has proved itself to be an unreliable engine of economic progress, vulnerable to the vicissitudes of the energy market and prone to boom and bust cycles that leave behind destitute communities saddled with an additional burden of environmental cleanup. The development of this mill and mining activity in the region will undermine the sustainable economic engines that have been increasing the quality of life in southwest Colorado since the last uranium boom of the 1970’s.

The recent Gulf Oil Spill provides an illustration of the disastrous consequences when a corporate entity fails to analyze and prepare adequately for a “worst‐case‐scenario.” We ask that you deny this mill based on the lack of worst‐case scenario analysis in its planning and the clear examples of the toxic, destructive legacy of the uranium industry in Colorado, which demonstrate that this industry is neither able nor willing to manage the impacts it leaves behind.

The uranium industry in Colorado has placed a huge financial burden on the taxpayers of Colorado and the United States. Close to $1 billion has been spent on cleanup efforts in Colorado alone, but the radioactivity of these sites will be with us forever. The negative economic impacts of this mill would far outweigh its benefits.

As the regulatory authority for granting uranium mill permits in Colorado you have the authority to consider a broad range of factors in your decision. We ask that you weigh all of the possible impacts from this mill in your consideration. It is the responsibility of the applicant, Energy Fuels to provide technically and scientifically sound evidence that this proposal will not harm the public health or the environment and to adequately plan for worst‐case scenarios. From the independent analysis submitted and the lack of adequate information presented by the applicant, we feel that you have substantive cause for the denial of this proposal and ask that you do so.

More Piñon Ridge coverage here. More nuclear coverage here and here.

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