Citing the concerns of Northern Colorado residents and officials, Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, and Congresswoman Betsy Markey today urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to listen to Coloradan's concerns before taking any further action on a proposed uranium mining operation in Weld County.
Many Northern Coloradans are raising serious concerns that the mining technique proposed, called in-situ leaching (ISL), could jeopardize water quality and may be inappropriate for use in an area near a population center of 300,000 people.
In an effort to ensure that Coloradans can voice their concerns, Bennet and Markey urged the EPA in a letter "to involve the public in any rulemakings or guidance promulgated in relation to the proposed Powertech Uranium Mine." The lawmakers also urged the EPA to "take every precaution to safeguard the quality of water."
"There's no reason to rush forward with this proposal when Colorado's water and a way of life could be at risk, " said Bennet. "Coloradans deserve to have their voices heard at every step of the process."
"Water is the lifeblood of the west," said Rep. Markey. "The serious concerns over contamination raised by local governments and private citizens alike deserve to be heard in public forums, and the EPA's rulemaking process should be entirely transparent and take place in the light of day."
Six area city councils-Fort Collins, Greeley, Wellington, Nunn, Ault and Timnath-have passed resolutions in opposition to the proposed mining project.
Below is a Full Copy of the Letter:
Carol Rushin, Action Regional Administrator
US EPA Region 8
1595 Wynkoop St.
Denver, CO 80202-1129
Dear Administrator Rushin,
We are writing regarding the potential uranium mining project in Weld County, Colorado near the towns of Nunn and Wellington.
Our constituents across Northern Colorado have expressed serious concerns about the proposed uranium mining operations using in-situ leaching (ISL). There is a fear that this process can jeopardize water quality, and may well be inappropriate for use in an area so close to a population center of 300,000 people.
These contamination concerns have led to fierce opposition to the proposed mining operations from the citizens and local governments in the region. The city councils from Fort Collins, Greeley, Wellington, Nunn, Ault, and Timnath have all passed resolutions in opposition to this proposal.
A number of our constituents have also expressed concern that the EPA may be formulating internal guidance to regulate the ISL process under the Safe Drinking Water Act's Underground Injection Control Program. Given that the EPA has never been the direct regulatory oversight authority for this process, we would encourage you to make all rulemakings and informal guidance subject to the public notice and comment provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act. The citizens of Northern Colorado deserve to be involved in the process.
Thus, we would respectfully urge you to take every precaution to safeguard the quality of our water and to involve the public in any rulemakings or guidance promulgated in relation to the proposed Powertech Uranium Mine.
Thank you for your good work in Region 8.