Having had 25 years of experience dealing with the Cotter Uranium Mill and its resulting Superfund site, I would strongly urge you to deny the Special Use Permit by the Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners.
Any advantage which may come to your community by allowing Energy Fuels to build this facility will be offset by the irreparable harm to the citizens of your county forever. The decisions on how the mill is operated, what materials are allowed to be milled and what happens to the waste from that milling will be determined by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. That agency does not have the resources or the regulatory power to make Energy Fuels be protective of your health and environment in Montrose County.
We in Cañon City have had to learn the hard way that once there is contamination,
there is no going back. Our groundwater is contaminated under Lincoln Park and despite decades of so-called remediation, there is very little improvement. Several methods of clean-up have been tried, from flushing using injection wells, to a Permeable Reactive Treatment Wall, which failed after a few years. Now we find that an additional plume has been detected in a different area. And the perpetrator is asking to rebuild over the same site without completing clean-up first.
The mill will undoubtedly be allowed to take Alternate Feed Stock ,which is waste by another name. It will be a lucrative decision for Energy Fuels to take materials which have already been milled to a certain extent. Foreign countries and states are happy to send their contamination for further extraction to any company, which can take it out of their backyard. Alternate Feed materials produce a small amount of yellowcake and leave behind in your backyard all the various chemicals and other radioactive materials which made them so dangerous in the first place. Once again the decision to allow these will be made not by you, but by CDPHE. Each time EF proposes bring materials to the mill, the commissioners and citizens of Montrose County will either have to hire paid experts, or do the footwork and research themselves to stop the process. As CCAT and Fremont County have found this is time-consuming, life-changing work.
There are additional reasons that should come into play during your decision making process. However, I think that giving over the control of the health and welfare, the ability of your citizens to enjoy their lands and waters to government officials and a company whose motive is profit, should be paramount in your thoughts. This does not need to be a hasty decision. FOREVER will be long enough to consider any mistakes that are made.
– Carol Dunn, co-chair, Colorado Citizens Against Toxic Waste