Energy policy — nuclear: Department of Energy Naturita public meeting hears from uranium miner claiming that the agency was forced into the current review by ‘environmentalists’

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From The Norwood Post (Ellen Metrick):

The reasons given for the sudden concern [performing an EIS on a lease that was renewed by the DOE in 2007] were simply that it’s a good time to do an EIS due to the lack of activity in the mining leases, the fact that the Piñon Ridge Mill is not yet built, and the dip in the economy, said Laura Kilpatrick, the DOE’s Uranium Leasing Program manager.

During Thursday’s public comment session, Richard Craig, a Nucla resident and Nucla Town Board member, said, “The DOE was forced into this by the environmentalists, and we’re gonna force you to make a good honest study so we can get on with our business.”[…]

The DOE will accept public comment through Sept. 9, 2011. Written comment scan be sent to Laura Kilpatrick, U.S. DOE, 11025 Dover ST., Suite 1000, Westminster, CO 80021. Comments may be submitted online at http://ULPEIS.anl.gov or by e-mail to ulpeis@anl.gov. The website will be updated as more information is available.

More coverage from David O. Williams writing for the Colorado Independent. From the article:

In Montrose, near where a Canadian company hopes to build the nation’s first new uranium processing mill in decades, the Montrose Daily Press reported a DOE meeting “generated impassioned responses from its defenders and detractors.”

In the nearby ski town of Telluride, according to the Telluride Daily Planet, the DOE “received a sharp mandate from Telluride residents: Any mining is too much, and its leasing program should be disbanded.”[…]

Some residents of remote western Montrose County welcome a revival of the uranium mining industry that provided jobs in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Critics, many from the nearby resort town of Telluride and surrounding San Miguel County, fear a return to the industrial mining days that left a toxic legacy in the region.

Opponents not only want the DOE to reject new uranium mining in the area, they also want past contamination cleaned up.

“Instead of promoting mining when DOE has plentiful uranium stockpiles, the public has requested DOE turn its focus to the environmental and economic benefits that would flow from requiring the immediate and comprehensive reclamation of 13 of the leased tracts,” said Hillary White of Sheep Mountain Alliance. “This would require no federal monies as the reclamation responsibilities must be met by the private companies who leased these tracts.”

More nuclear coverage here and here.

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