by Meghan Murphy
August 15, 2007
uranium mining is several years and
permits away from becoming reality in
northern Colorado, H. Mike Williams
already sees its impact. Williams said
his property value on 80 acres in Carr
has dipped below what he paid for it
only seven years ago.
confronted Powertech Uranium Corp.
project manager Lane Douglas on
Wednesday night at the Ault VFW. About
200 people were there to hear a
presentation by Coloradans Against
Resource Destruction on uranium mining
and its potential impacts.
destroying my family and my 200
neighbors in that area," Williams said.
Powertech owns mineral rights on
bought mineral rights on 5,760 acres of
land in northern Weld County from
Anadarko Petroleum Corp. last year. The
company plans to capitalize on high
uranium prices by drilling wells and
extracting the mineral from local lands,
which they say is at least three years
away. First, the company must obtain
state and federal permits, and a
land-use change from Weld County.
from addressing economic impacts, the
presenters Wednesday discussed how
uranium mining may harm the environment
and public health. Activist Ami
Wangeline, who received a doctorate
degree in biology, botony and philosophy
from Colorado State University in the
spring, raised concerns about the large
amount of waste associated with uranium
mining. For every 5 pounds of uranium
extracted from an open pit mine, she
said there are about 9,990 pounds of
leftover material. Other uranium sites
have built up tailings piles that when
washed away by wind or rain,
discussed how waste could result in high
levels of selenium in vegetation. She
pointed to news articles about mass
livestock die-offs from poisoning by the
mineral. Her cohort, Lilias Jones
Jarding, a Fort Collins environmental
policy consultant, covered uranium
mining's potential health impacts.
Quoting the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
Commission, she said that the type of
mining Powertech plans to do is more
environmentally beneficial but still
tends to contaminate groundwater.
homeowners and politicians all seemed
swayed by the presentation. Many asked
what they could do to stop Powertech and
one even questioned why Weld County
commissioners hadn't showed up to the
looks even scarier than we thought,"
said Liv Lyons, a Weld County resident
who lives near the potential mine site.
"It's really important that people come
out and stop this now."
declined to comment about the meeting.