Energy policy — nuclear: Department of Energy review of uranium mining public meeting in Telluride draws many opponents to production and exploration

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From The Telluride Daily Planet (Matthew Beaudin):

The Department of Energy is conducting a series of meetings across the region to take the pulse of people from Telluride, Montrose, Monticello, Utah and Naturita in regard to the federal program that leases land to mining companies…

Comments from the Telluride audience were sharply opposed to the uranium industry and the federal leasing program. Common concerns were the waste products generated through mining and milling and harm to the environment. The DOE, which did not answer questions during the meeting, was also roundly criticized for its neglect of the Telluride area in its reviews. “The feds call this a legacy project, a legacy program. Is that ironic?” asked Pamela Zoline. The region does need jobs, she said, “but I don’t think any of us want a legacy of toxicity and poison long beyond the management capabilities of our folks to handle it.”

An ideological ridge has long run between Telluride and the communities west of it to the Utah state line, small towns that need jobs after the last boom left their economies badly busted…

Until now, the DOE reviewed the mining operations piecemeal rather than addressing the cumulative impacts of increased production in the region, which it made possible in 2008 with the renewal of its leasing program in the Uravan Mineral Belt, awarding or renewing 31 leases for mining-related activities over 25,000 acres between Naturita and Moab, Utah. The DOE has frozen all activity on the leases while it reviews the program…

A total of 25,000 acres of land in southwestern Colorado, northern New Mexico and southeastern Utah were withdrawn from the public domain during the late 1940s and early 1950s by the Atomic Energy Commission, the predecessor agency to the Department of Energy. In Telluride, there is still deep suspicion of the industry.

More nuclear coverage here.

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