Appropriations Committee approves HB-1161 on 10-0 vote; Land and Water Stewardship Act sent to full Senate
Posted April 25, 2008, Updated April 26, 2008
At an early morning hearing on Friday, Senator Steve Johnson from Fort Collins obtained a unanimous 10-0 vote from the Senate Appropriations Committee in favor of House Bill 1161. Johnson, a Republican, is the prime Senate sponsor of the bill. The prime House sponsors are Democrats John Kefalas and Randy Fischer.
All three legislators have done a remarkable job of educating themselves on the subject of in-situ leach uranium mining. They have worked countless hours with northern Colorado residents, Powertech Uranium Corp., and the Colorado Mining Association to draft and revise a bill that should protect the ground water used by thousands of Weld and Larimer County well owners.
Johnson summarized the bill during the hearing: "Basically what the bill does, it says you've got to reclaim the ground water to its original condition or the conditions of the statewide standards for groundwater..."
Recently, Powertech lobbyist Dick Brown has stated publicly that Powertech does not oppose HB-1161. However, when asked by another senator if Powertech supports or opposes the bill, Johnson responded:
...I would not say they support the bill. I don't think they support the bill. They probably like stuff the way it is now. They probably don't want any of these changes. But they're a lot happier with the bill than they were when it started. I've met with them several times and done as much as I can to address their concerns without weakening the protections in the bill.
As far as I know, no Powertech official has publicly confirmed Mr. Brown's assertion.
The bill has already passed the House (49-16) and now moves to the full Senate for second and third readings. Second reading is slated for Tuesday, April 29.