Energy policy — nuclear: The Sheep Mountain Alliance files lawsuit over the licensing procedure for the proposed Piñon Ridge uranium/vanadium mill

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From the Colorado Independent (David O. Williams):

In a legal challenge filed in Denver District Court last week, the Sheep Mountain Alliance alleges the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) violated both the federal Atomic Energy Act and the Colorado Radiation Control Act when it issued a license for Toronto-based Energy Fuels to build the first new uranium processing mill in the United States in more than three decades…

The Sheep Mountain Alliance lawsuit alleges the state didn’t allow the public to ask regulators or Energy Fuels’ officials direct technical questions about the mill, which violates the Atomic Energy Act. “Sheep Mountain Alliance exhausted all remedies before we decided to file this lawsuit,” Linda Miller, a member of Sheep Mountain Alliance board of directors, said in a release. “We participated in the approval process but our concerns were not addressed. We’re disappointed that the state did not issue a decision that would have protected the public interest and we must now rely on the district court to uphold the law.”[…]

The lawsuit accuses the CDPHE of violating state laws designed to keep Colorado taxpayers from having to shoulder the costs of cleaning up uranium mills, which the suit claims have contaminated groundwater everywhere they’ve been built in the state.

More coverage from The Los Angeles Times (Nicholas Riccardi). From the article:

State regulators said they followed all appropriate procedures when they approved the permit, but the lawsuit, filed Feb. 4 in state court by the Telluride-based Sheep Mountain Alliance, alleges that is not the case. It claims the state did not hold adequate public hearings and that the licensing violates a state law prohibiting uranium mills near areas that already have high levels of heavy metals in their water. The suit also contends that the state did not require the mill’s owner to set aside enough money for mitigation, noting that prior groundwater contamination in Colorado mills has cost up to $500 million to clean up. Energy Fuels is only required to set aside $11 million, according to the complaint.

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

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