WELLINGTON TRUSTEES VOTE 7-0 TO OPPOSE URANIUM MINING PLAN
Companion resolution passed to support HB-1161; Congresswoman Musgrave sends letter to trustees urging careful examination of project's impacts on residents; Powertech a no show
Posted April 8, 2008, updated April 14, 2008
Trustees of the Town of Wellington took a courageous stand against Powertech Uranium Corp. on April 8 by unanimously approving a resolution against the proposed mining of uranium six miles from the town. The resolution includes the following statements of opposition to the project:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF WELLINGTON, COLORADO, as follows:
Section 1. That the Town Board hereby expresses its strong opposition to the Project and urges all county, state and federal agencies involved in the permitting process for the Project to recognize that locating the Project along the North Front Range and in close proximity to the Town of Wellington is ill advised because it may well be injurious to the health, safety and/or
welfare of the residents in the area and do irreparable harm to the economic well-being of the Town of Wellington.
Section 2. That, for the foregoing reasons, the Town Board further urges such agencies to deny any and all permit applications for the Project.
Going further, the trustees voted unanimously to approve a second resolution expressing support for state House Bill 1161. HB-1161 requires uranium mining companies to provide evidence to permitting authorities that they can restore ground water aquifers to premining conditions (or state health standards) after mining has ceased. HB-1161 has been passed by the Colorado House and was recently introduced in the Senate. The bill has been endorsed by Governor Ritter, the Fort Collins Coloradoan, the Greeley Tribune, and the Loveland Reporter Daily-Herald.
Numerous area residents spoke in oppositon to the project at the Wellington Board of Trustees' March 25 meeting. Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave sent a staffer to the April 8 meeting to read a letter she wrote to the trustees, which includes the following statement:
On behalf of my constituents in Colorado's Fourth Congressional District, I again reiterate my strong opposition to this mine and encourage you to carefully examine the impact this project could have on the people of Wellington.
The trustees' vote was complicated somewhat by the fact that Powertech had recently established a physical presence in Wellington. In December, the Canadian company leased office space from real estate broker and developer Doug Andersen. The offices are in a small converted frame house on the northwest corner of North 6th Street and Harrison Avenue, which is just north of Loaf & Jug and west of First National Bank.
The offices are staffed by project manager Terry Walsh and senior environmental coordinator Mike Beshore. According to a Powertech news release, the Wellington office was established "to create a local presence in the project area with the objective of enhancing community relations." Ironically, Powertech did not send a single representative to the Tuesday meeting of the Wellington Board of Trustees. In spite of its stated goal of enhancing community relations, the company made no attempt to argue for its proposed project. This snub undoubtedly made it easier for the trustees to reach their unanimous decision.
Coincidentally, Powertech backed out of a March 28 public forum on the project sponsored by the Town of Timnath. Kyle Boyd, Timnath's public information officer, worked for several weeks to organize the event which was to include presentations by Powertech and by Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction, the primary opposition group.
Boyd had to persuade Powertech representatives to agree to participate in the forum. Boyd's dealings were with John Hall, an employee of Webb PR, Powertech's Denver public relations firm. Apparently, Hall questioned why Powertech should participate since the Timnath Town Council had earlier passed a unanimous resolution denouncing the Centennial Project and urging the denial of its permit applications. Boyd responded that town officials simply wanted to educate the townspeople on this important proposal. Powertech agreed to show up.
Four days before the forum was to take place, Hall told Boyd the two individuals slated to present for Powertech were stranded outside of the country and would not make it to Timnath. Powertech has at least five employees who regularly make public presentations on the Centennial Project (Richard Clement, Richard Blubaugh, Jim Bonner, Terry Walsh, and Mike Beshore.) Furthermore, the company recently hired Wallace Mays as Chief Operating Officer and his son John Mays as Vice President of Engineering. Both have extensive experience in the uranium mining industry and are qualified to address the issues surrounding the Centennial Project.
It seems reasonable that Powertech could have sent at least one representative to the Timnath forum. As far as the Wellington meeting on Tuesday, three Powertech officials (Clement, Walsh, and Beshore) attended a Greeley City Council work session on the same night. The Greeley council heard presentations by Powertech and CARD and may soon consider a resolution opposing the Centennial Project. In spite of this conflict, Powertech could have sent a representative to Wellington but chose not to.
Below I have included the two Wellington resolutions, the Musgrave letter, and an email with attachments from the past president of the Larimer County Medical Society.
(Note: A signed copy is forthcoming)
(Note: A signed copy is forthcoming. The resolution also makes reference to "House Bill 1169". This was removed by the trustees prior to voting on the resolution.)