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Rocky Mountain Chronicle

Fort Collins, Colorado

July 2007


By ETW   

The scene in the Nunn Town Hall resembles a science fair. Presenters, standing behind folding tables, struggle to explain their projects and posters, and not even the 3D computer simulations impress the patrons.

But this isn’t a middle-school competition. It’s July 19, and Powertech Uranium Corp. is holding its first informational open house so Northern Coloradans can learn about company plans to mine 5,760 acres of area land for uranium. The locals are informed and unforgiving judges.

Since mailing notification letters last October to landowners around Nunn, 25 miles east of Fort Collins, Powertech officials have dodged meeting invites from concerned citizens who have formed Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction (CARD) and launched nunnglow.com. Now, the company’s community event has drawn 300 people with plenty of questions for the various officials, consultants and PR flaks, all dressed in powder blue shirts, stationed around the hall. Most of the attendees don’t feel like they’re getting answers.

“I’ve gone to all of these [tables], and all I’ve heard is crap,” says Shelly Kuhne, whose family lives on 75 acres along Weld County Road 100, smack in the middle of the planned “in-situ” leaching project, where Powertech wants to pump a baking-soda solution into the underlying sandstone to reach uranium pockets.

Those same formations also hold the groundwater that dozens of families tap for wells, and lots of these landowners seem unconvinced that the mining operation won’t contaminate their water. Case studies on in-situ mining support their worries.

“If they could tell me the water would be better than it is now, I’d be on this like flies on cow poop,” says Christy Staab, of the Eternal Hope Equestrian Centre in Nunn. “But no one could tell me.”

Christy eventually joins the mob in the center of the hall, surrounding Powertech CEO Dick Clement. His responses, however, fail to sway opposition, even after he tells Kuhne that, “It would not bother me to have [uranium mining] next to my house.”

“Get in here,” Kuhne tells Eat the Week, as we stand outside the circle of people. “You need to hear this bullshit.”