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No scientists needed to see danger Print

by Diane Rhodes (Letter to the Editor)
Fort Collins Coloradoan
December 21, 2007

It's not surprising that Powertech, the company that wants to mine uranium near Nunn, took a full-page ad in the paper (Dec. 14) expressing its disappointment with the Fort Collins City Council for passing a resolution against the uranium mining.

This company stands to make many millions of dollars taking the uranium from underground. The proposed mining site is about 11 miles from Fort Collins, so our City Council is rightfully concerned about the damage such a mine could cause.

Powertech maintains that no scientific data were used to craft or pass the resolution. It takes very little scientific research to understand that uranium is radioactively toxic. And you don't need to be a nuclear physicist to grasp that the "in-situ" mining process, which disturbs the uranium ore underground, dissolves it in chemically treated water, pumps it to the surface and then transports it to Wyoming for treatment, (could) pose a threat to the environment and the health of humans and animals living in a large area around the mine. It also doesn't require scientific research to figure out that area real estate values would be negatively impacted by this sort of mining.

Powertech states in its letter that there would be constant monitoring of the process. Monitoring a spill or other accident after the fact would do nothing to lessen the damage done. The poisons created and exposed by this mining can't be cleaned up or de-activated - they simply stay around for hundreds of years. Why take a chance with this dangerous proposal? There is no acceptable level of risk, no matter how small, of a spill or escape of radioactive toxins or other heavy metals, and no acceptable level of contamination of the water, air or earth.

It makes no sense to invite or endorse the mining of toxic metals to fuel an industry that has yet to figure out how to dispose of the highly poisonous waste it generates. And the truly ironic part of this issue is that much of the uranium mined would go to other energy-hungry countries such as China and India. If permitted to mine in Northern Colorado, Powertech (a Canadian-based company) will take the ores it wants and leave the area after the mine is depleted.

Unless you are one of the very few who would reap large money profits from this mining, where is any long-term benefit for the ordinary citizens of Northern Colorado?

This is a very large and complicated issue, and I am speaking from common sense and my heart. For anyone who needs more hard data, please visit the Web site of Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction, or C.A.R.D., at for links to a wealth of scientific data and history of uranium mining damage.

There was no need for the City Council to spend months researching the scientific data. It is, after all, just a resolution they passed Dec. 4. The City Council, as an elected body, has a responsibility to safeguard the city's environmental and economic health, and to reflect the valid concerns of its citizens. I thank them for taking a stand on this very important issue.

Diane Rhodes lives in Fort Collins.

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