From The Durango Telegraph (Missy Votel/Tracy Chamberlin):
The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a conditional permit for a tailings pond at the proposed Piñon Ridge uranium mill in Paradox Valley. The approval comes on the heels of a federal court ruling that ordered environmental impact statements for uranium mines throughout the West. The conditional approval requires Vancouver-based Energy Fuels Inc. to submit a comprehensive ground and surface water-monitoring plan, subject to additional EPA review and approval.
Area environmental groups, which oppose the mill, expressed doubt over whether Energy Fuels’ plans will pass muster. “Our concern with the 40-acre tailings impoundment and 30-acre evaporation pond at the Piñon Ridge Mill continues to be a great risk to the Dolores River and ground water in Paradox Valley,” said Hilary White, executive director of Sheep Mountain Alliance. “Energy Fuels still has not submitted final, detailed construction plans for the tailings ponds to any agency and hasn’t demonstrated that they can prevent leaks and radioactive, toxic chemical and heavy metal contamination of the watershed.”[…]
The EPA’s approval came a week after a federal judge ordered an environmental impact statement on many of the leased mines expected to supply Piñon Ridge. Energy Fuels must still obtain air emissions and groundwater permits from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.