Prevent Establishment of New Uranium Mill in Colorado

Target: Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Colorado State Legislature

Goal: Prevent the licensing and establishment of a new uranium mill in Colorado’s Paradox Valley

Plans for a new uranium mill in the Paradox Valley of Southwestern Colorado are proceeding without proper environmental or social review, nor sufficient public hearings. Such an operation would pose a serious threat to the environment and communities by polluting and disrupting water systems, clean air and endangered species. Already, mining and processing of uranium and other substances has heavily polluted and damaged this area, necessitating clean up, which is currently underway.

The Pinon Ridge Mill, proposed by a Canadian company, Energy Fuels Resources, Inc., would be the first uranium mill to open in the U.S. in several decades, bringing with it the associated dangers of processing and waste disposal which are not easily dealt with. Without a plan for increased cleanup in the area or for disposal of the radioactive waste in the future, this mill puts public health and safety at risk.

The transport of radioactive materials in Colorado and across the United States is an added risk. Further, agriculture and tourism industries could suffer from polluted air, water and damaged ecosystems.The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment too hastily approved a license for the mill to open in this valley. However the Nuclear Regulatory Commission found that the project had not carried out sufficient review or public hearing to receive the license, and interfered with help from the Sheep Mountain Alliance.

A Colorado court overturned the decision to grant this license, and is allowing concerned parties to participate in public hearings. This is an opportunity to present inarguable evidence of the damage uranium mining and processing has already caused in this region, and the necessity of preventing further pollution and destruction of the environment and people of the area.

Please request a thorough consideration of the risks this project would bring and advocate for further cleaning up from previous operations rather than the introduction of a new mill.

PETITITION LETTER:

Dear Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Colorado State Legislature,

The health and safety of Southwestern Colorado and the Colorado River are at stake as a proposal to establish a new uranium mill in the sensitive region of Paradox Valley gains state support. This region has a history of uranium mining and processing, which has left many abandoned mines and polluted aquifers, lakes and rivers. Clean up of the current situation must be prioritized over the opening of new operations.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment prematurely issued a license to the Canadian company Energy Fuels Resources Inc. to begin construction of the Pinon Ridge Mill. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission stepped in to question the proceedings, and the licensing decision was overturned in favour of further public hearings and environmental review.

As the first uranium mill to be built in the U.S. in three decades, ample review is imperative. The dangers this operation would pose to the environment, water sources, public health and wildlife, as well as agriculture and tourism, are significant.

Radioactive and toxic materials including uranium, arsenic, lead and ammonia, among others are a real threat, as selenium and arsenic pollution in nearby rivers is already harming fish species and water quality. The mill would process both newly mined uranium ore and uranium waste. There is evidence of insufficient planning for the future and waste disposal in regard to the mill.

Please consider the serious consequences of opening such an operation in Colorado, and instead of allowing this dangerous uranium mill, focus on remediation of the already polluted environment.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: stevendamron via Flickr

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