Marostica "very comfortable" with uranium mining
Loveland politician sees no need for HB-1161 provision setting higher standards for ground water restoration; did he accuse opponents of falsifying petitions?
Posted April 3, 2008, Updated April 4, 2008
Loveland real estate developer and state representative Don Marostica has emerged as a major proponent of Powertech Uranium Corp's plans to mine uranium within 11 miles of downtown Fort Collins and about 20 miles from downtown Loveland. As reported in today's Rocky Mountain Chronicle, Marostica appears to be proud of his defense of the much-maligned Canadian company:
“Everyone else is tiptoeing, because they want to get elected. I’m the only one in Northern Colorado who is taking this view.”
The Loveland legislator displayed Powerpoint slides created by Powertech as part of his House floor speech against HB-1161 on Friday, according to observers of the debate. HB-1161 passed out of the House Monday on a 49 to 16 roll call vote and is scheduled for first reading in the Senate next week.
Last year, Powertech took Marostica and other state legislators on a tour of Cameco Corporation's Smith Ranch in situ uranium leaching operation in Wyoming, and Rep. Marostica was duly impressed. Apparently, his tour guides did not disclose the serious environmental and operational problems uncovered recently by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. The WDEQ's report of its investigation contains the following statement:
Over the years there have been an inordinate number of spills, leaks and other releases at this operation. Some 80 spills have been reported, in addition to numerous pond leaks, well casing failures and excursions. Unfortunately, it appears that such occurrences have become routine. The LQD currently has two large three-ring binders full of spill reports from the Smith Ranch-Highland operations.
In a startling move, Rep. Marostica questioned the credibility of Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave's staunch opposition to Powertech's mining proposal. He has since attempted to back off his House floor statement, saying his objection was to Democrats' use of Musgrave's letters on the matter. Marostica's effort to inject partisanship into this controversy is unfortunate in light of the bipartisan opposition to the mining project.
During his House comments on Friday, Marostica commented on the over 8,000 petition signatures against the project collected by members and supporters of Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction, the main grassroots group fighting Powertech. As reported in the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, Marostica referred to "those 8,000 fake signatures." He has since denied calling the signatures fake, claiming he was simply stuttering. Since there is some question about his statement, I have provided an audio clip below. Listen and decide for yourself:
Uranium Support Moves Above Ground - Joshua Zaffos
ONE DOWN, ONE TO GO - HB-1161 gains final House approval on lopsided 49-16 vote and heads to Senate; Loveland Representative Marostica argues for uranium leach mining, insults Musgrave - Posted March 31, 2008, Updated April 1, 2008
"Model" Wyoming in situ uranium mining operation cited for multiple permit violations - Cameco Corporation, a Canadian company, is world's largest uranium producer; Wyoming regulators note "inordinate number of spills, leaks and other releases", "low level of corporate commitment" to environmental issues, and "groundwater restoration not a high priority" - Posted March 27, 2008, Updated March 29, 2008