Salazar: EPA has not assured me that risks to ground water from in situ leach
mining are understood
Senator makes statement during committee hearing; points out that Powertech's project area is
near population of 300,000
Updated March 15, 2008
Below are excerpts from a statement made on Wednesday by Colorado Senator Ken Salazar to the U.S. Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee. They concern the controversy over Powertech's planned uranium mining in northern Colorado and are part of a larger statement on the legacy of abandoned mines in Colorado and on the impacts of uranium mining. On November 9, 2007, Salazar sent a letter to Robbie Roberts, Region 8 Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, urging him to conduct a risk analysis of Powertech's proposal and seeking information on "remediation of aquifer excursions and other types of site contamination caused by ISL mines." JW
Excerpts from Senator Salazar's March 12 statement:
"Colorado is also seeing a rush of new claims in several areas of the state."
“The price volatility of this commodity alone is disconcerting, but of course uranium mining has a troubled environmental and public health legacy. Traditional open-pit uranium mining has long been associated with adverse health impacts for miners and tailings piles that plague nearby communities. In northern Colorado, there is a proposal to perform in situ leaching uranium mining."
"The citizens who live near the proposed site have expressed their grave concerns to me about the potential negative economic and environmental impacts that this project may have on their communities. The proposed project would be located within 30 miles of a population of approximately 300,000 people. Many are worried that the in situ leaching process employed at the mines will result in contamination of their groundwater."
“Today I would like the witnesses on our second panel to address the fundamental question of the cumulative global experience with in situ leach uranium mining. In my correspondence with EPA on the subject thus far, I have not been assured that we understand the risks, especially to our groundwater, and that we have the regulatory processes and requirements in place to assess the impacts of “excursions” of uranium solution in these operations. I am seeking clarification from each of the regulatory agencies involved in licensing in situ leach mining operations that they share a coherent vision of the risks and issues of public concern.”
Salazar raises uranium concerns
SALAZAR TO ROBERTS: SAFEGUARD THE GROUNDWATER - Senator urges EPA Region 8 chief to conduct "an accurate and complete analysis of the risks" posed by Powertech's proposal; requests information on "remediation of aquifer excursions and other types of site contamination caused by ISL mines" - Posted November 15, 2007