Report on C.A.R.D. presentation on the Centennial Project
Posted February 12, 2009
Last night, C.A.R.D. unveiled its updated presentation on the Centennial Project to a full house at the Fort Collins Senior Center. For the first time, it was revealed that Powertech intends to dispose of mine wastewater by simply spraying it on the ground. The method, termed land application, joins deep well injection and evaporation ponds as Powertech's preferred ways to deal with the millions of gallons of water contaminated with radionuclides and heavy metals that results from in-situ leach uranium mining.
The presentation also included an overview of the permitting process, given by Jeff Parsons, senior attorney with the Western Mining Action Project. Parsons focused on the challenges Powertech faces complying with Colorado House Bill 08-1161 which was passed last year. HB-1161 requires that, before a permit is issued, Powertech must prove it can mine without degrading the aquifer. Once mining is done, the law requires the company to clean up the ground water to its premining quality or better. As this website has pointed out, there is no documented case of an ISL operation restoring an aquifer to its premining water quality. Powertech President Dick Clement has been quoted saying HB-1161 is not a big concern, even though company securities filings admit that the law may affect the project's profitability.
Speaking of Clement, he attended last night's public meeting along with company geologist Mike Beshore and PR guy Bill Downey. Clement was eager to make his case to the crowd, but couldn't resist attacking opponents for unspecified "innuendo" against the mine project. And when asked about plans for selling Weld County uranium overseas, Clement expounded on demand from US power plants while avoiding mention of Powertech's agreement to sell to Belgian company Synatom/Electrabel. He was also silent on Powertech Chairman Wallace Mays' contract to sell uranium to the Government of India.