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Rebuttal to Rocky Mountain News house editorial "Mining Over and Out" - Howard Mike Williams

January 30, 2008



Dear Editor,

The predictable wailing and moaning of uranium mining companies has begun, following the announcement of two pieces of legislation recently at the Capitol, HB 1161, and HB 1165.

Who ever wrote this article “Mining Over and Out” has made a few errors. You have also validated our discoveries regarding the pollution generated in the ground water from the in-situ uranium mining process.

First: HB 1161 and HB 1165 are water protection bills presented by Republicans and Democrats. This is a nonpartisan issue. Uranium mining close to populated areas of Weld County, in a drinking water aquifer will affect 40,000 ranchers, farmers and rural people, and potentially many future Front Range communities. Those bills put the burden of responsibility on the mining company to prove that what they intend to do is safe for the health of our environment and our residents. Plus this legislation makes mining companies accountable for damages and clean up costs following mining. The tax payers will appreciate not having to pay for mining disasters like the Summitville disaster a few years ago. HB 1161 and HB 1165 places greater authority in the hands of local authorities for land use permits, rather than in the hands of state or federal agencies. This should appeal to everyone state wide.

Second: We have had several “open” town hall meetings organized so the residents, elected officials and the mining company could openly discuss the proposed mine. During one of these meeting at the Nunn Community Center last July, with Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, she personally asked Powertech officials about ground water safety and other environmental issues. She announced that she had listened to both sides and concluded that Powertech had not provided her with the assurances of protection for these issues sufficient for her support. Thank you Congresswoman Musgrave.

Third: Your article states:

"HB 1161 would place impossible conditions on in-situ projects.
It would require the state Mined Land Reclamation Board to deny
an in-situ permit unless the applicant can demonstrate that it can restore
all affected ground water to its premining quality for all constituents.
This cannot be done, according to the mining officials."

That and the rest of the statement validates what we, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and several Texas county Officials have said all along. In-situ mining in a drinking water aquifer will contaminate that ground water with irreversible damage. Therefore it should not be attempted in our drinking water. Pat Calhoun, President of the Goliad, Texas County Farm Bureau, agrees that in-situ leach mining in someone’s drinking water aquifer is like a surgeon removing a small benign tumor from your brain with a meat cleaver. Both operations are successful except the host dies.

The Kleberg County, Texas Attorney Mr. Lowerre stated (Greeley Trib 1-6-08) that “there has never been an in-situ mined aquifer in Texas returned to the water quality promised by the mining companies, they just lie to everybody”.

Pardon me, but we do not want this to happen to us, or to the residents of any Colorado community. The current proposal to mine uranium in Weld County so close to large population areas and in our drinking water is a huge mistake on the part of the mining company. Those who have invested in this company have made a mistake as well .There are other investment opportunities for uranium mining in Colorado, which will not adversely affect communities like ours. I would suggest you invest in them.

Present elected political officials, I urge you to support HB 1161and 1165 for the good of all state residents. My fellow Coloradoans, I suggest that you call or write to your elected district officials, as well as county, state and federal Representatives and Senators. The mining industry has had a free hand in reaping huge profits in Colorado at our expense in the past. Let’s put a stop to that now. For comprehensive, up to the minute information on these issues, go to www.powertechexposed.com or www.nunnglow.com

Howard M Williams
Carr, Colorado 80612