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Mining opponents pack Nunn meeting


August 12, 2009

By Steven Olson

The Wellington (Wellington, Colorado's Community Newspaper)


They had to get extra chairs. Mayor Jeffrey Pigue, officers of the Nunn police department and others brought in 17 chairs to add to the 42 already in the room to seat the crowd that showed up for the Aug. 6 Nunn Town Board of Trustees meeting.


Facing a packed room, Pigue suggested that the more mundane items the board usually handles at the beginning of the meeting be moved to the end.


Interest was high because Powertech Uranium Corp., the Canadian-based firm that wants to mine uranium in Weld County between Nunn and Wellington (Colorado), had asked for an item of new business regarding its Centennial Project.


Area residents who monitor town board meetings were surprised to find Powertech on the agenda posted the day before the meeting, and details of the company’s request were not made available to the public. Town Clerk Tori McMechan would not provide an advance copy of the proposed resolution to The Wellington, saying that she might be in violation of attorney-client privilege if she did so.


Read aloud at the town board meeting, the resolution stated Powertech wanted to work with Nunn to iron out any problems connected with the Centennial Project and to establish a cooperative relationship with the town.


The audience, which consisted of a mixed group including members of Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction, citizens of Nunn and people who live nearby, wasted no time in expressing an opinion on accepting the letter. It was a unified and very loud “No.”


Trustee Brian Jex got a loud burst of applause when he observed, “If we adopt this, we’re showing we’re pro-Powertech, which I’m against to be honest with you.”


The board agreed to table the matter. While most in the audience applauded, some, like longtime Nunn resident Alvarita Thomas, wanted to know what that meant. Pigue responded, “It’s a dead issue now.”


Many were filing out of the board meeting room when Thomas persisted, “I’m concerned that when you say it’s a dead issue, it might rise from the grave.”


“It’s dead as far as this meeting is concerned,” Pigue said. “…Until someone brings it up again, it’s dead. If someone brings it up later, we have no choice but to hear it.”


Though Pigue said the issue was dead, there were some in the audience and some milling about outside the small community center who were still suspicious. Dog breeder Gerrit Voshel, a CARD member who lives on Weld County Road 17 near one of the proposed mining sites, said the entire situation “sounded like a lot of smoke and mirrors.”


“They tried to slip something past us at the last minute,” said Voshel, “but thanks to e-mail and the Internet we can get a crowd together pretty quickly.”


The Wellington story