Colorado: Hearing on controversial uranium mill starts; conservation groups get formal party status

Many southwest Colorado residents are saying no thanks to uranium mining and milling in their region.

Hearing starts Oct. 15 for what would be the country’s first new uranium mill in 30 years

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After a start-stop permitting procedure for a proposed uranium mill in southwestern Colorado was marred by inadequate public hearings, state officials will once again take input in formal proceedings starting Oct. 15.

This time, a judge has given three conservation groups formal standing for the hearings, which means that environmental advocates will be able to introduce evidence, testify and cross-examine witnesses.

The Piñon Ridge mill is proposed for the Paradox Valley, in southwestern Colorado near the Dolores River. The three groups — Rocky Mountain Wild, Colorado Environmental Coalition and the Center for Biological Diversity — will join the towns of Telluride, Ophir, and San Miguel County in voicing concerns about the proposed mill’s threats to air, water, wildlife and tourism. Continue reading

Environment: District court in Colorado nixes state license for proposed Pinon Ridge uranium mill

A district court in Colorado this week invalidated a state license for a controversial uranium mill in the southwestern corner of the state.

Communities, conservation groups prevail in lawsuit against Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Communities and conservation groups in southwestern Colorado won a huge court victory this week, as a Denver District Court judge invalidated a state license for the proposed  Piñon Ridge uranium mill.

Judge John N. McMullen ruled June 13 that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment erred by issuing the license to Energy Fuels without public hearings required under the regulatory process.

Pinon Ridge would be the first new rock-crushing uranium mill to be built in the U.S. in 25 years. Communities in the area said they were concerned that lapses in state’s approval process prevented a thorough evaluation of potential and water quality impacts. Continue reading

Will Colorado block public from a meeting on nuclear plans?

State and federal agencies will discuss oversight of radiation control programs this week, but the public may not be able to attend.

A proposed uranium processing mill in southwest Colorado has triggered a showdown between state and federal regulators

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — State health officials and federal nuclear regulators will powwow this week over the stalled application for a permit for a planned uranium mill in southwest Colorado, but the public apparently will be shut out of the process — despite a formal request for access by local government officials from Telluride and San Miguel County.

“The state has completely failed to conduct its review of the proposed Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in a fair, open and transparent process,” said Hilary White, executive director of the Sheep Mountain Alliance, a Telluride-based conservation group that has challenged the Piñon Ridge license in a lawsuit.

The April 17 meeting has been set to discuss and review the state’s performance and implementation of the federal Atomic Energy Act. Community groups and environmental advocates challenging the permitting of the mill said the state failed its obligation to hold adequate formal public hearings during the permitting process and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in February agreed in a finding that could force Energy Fuels to start the application process from scratch. Continue reading

Federal regulators say Colorado health officials botched licensing and hearing process for proposed uranium mill

Feds say hearings needed on proposed uranium mill in SW Colorado.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission calls for public hearings on SW Colorado project

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal regulators said last week that Colorado public health officials failed to provide for adequate public comment during the early permitting and licensing stages for the proposed Piñon Ridge uranium mill in southwestern Colorado.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment was not able to respond to questions about the licensing and hearing process Tuesday afternoon. The CDPHE issued a final radioactive materials license for the Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill on Jan. 5, 2011

The finding by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission could force Energy Fuels to start the application process from scratch. Continue reading


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