The Mined Land Reclamation Board (MLRB) has finalized a hearing schedule for proposed state rules that will determine how Powertech USA can proceed with its plans to construct a uranium mine in Weld County less than 15 miles northeast of Fort Collins. The MLRB is asking for the public to make its voice heard on the proposed rules at an April 15th hearing at the I-25 Embassy Suites Hotel at the Ranch (1pm to 9pm) in Loveland. It will be the first formal public hearing on the rules, with an additional one (or more) likely in Denver. Also, there are two public participation tracks in this rulemaking: one for those wanting formal “party status” in the rulemaking (along with formal legal obligations); and one for the citizens and general public wanting to be heard, but not be a formal “party” to the rulemaking.
The MLRB has also set a March 15th deadline for written public comments on the draft rules. If you want to be heard on this critical issue, we urge you to provide written comments.
This is the time we need strong mobilization from interested and affected communities to generate public involvement. Overall, the rules stay true to HB 1161 and SB 228, and deserve support. Two critical substantive issues remain: 1) the industry’s continued attempts to weaken ground water protection standards for in-situ leach uranium mines; and 2) the extent of the public’s and local government’s ability to participate in pre-mining permitting (i.e. prospecting, exploration, and in-situ baseline characterization plan approval).
The Division has thus far held its ground on the first count, and we need to support the rules on groundwater protections. The Division has waffled on the second issue, granting a short public comment period for prospecting and in-situ baseline characterization plan proposals but not a right to administrative review or appeal up to the MLRB for these important agency decisions. As it has throughout, industry will likely argue that no public involvement in any form (comment or appeal) should be allowed for any pre-mining approvals. Thus, we need to encourage the MLRB to maintain the public comment periods in the draft rules and also to extend to the public and local governments the opportunity to seek administrative review of prospecting and in-situ baseline characterization plan approvals.
We urge you to submit your written comments to the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board by March 15th. For detailed instructions for submitting your comments, including a sample template you can use, click here.
For additional information, Read the Article in the Fort Collins Coloradoan.