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by Louis Sharpe
Letter to the Editor
Fort Collins Coloradoan
November 6, 2007

I was pleased to see Lane Douglas of the Canadian uranium mining company Powertech bring the debate over their plans for Northern Colorado to this public forum (letter to the editor, Oct. 17, Coloradoan).

He properly raises the key issue: the safety of the water supply. I appreciate his directness.

Lane points out that Powertech need not be held to too high a standard because the water there, 11 miles from Fort Collins, is already unfit for drinking.

The question, of course, is whether the 3,000 holes drilled in the same area in the 1970s for uranium exploration by Powertech's predecessor, Rocky Mountain Energy, are responsible for the contamination of the water supply to which he refers. These holes were perhaps improperly capped and plugged like recent Powertech excavated holes (see photos at powertech

I challenge Douglas to assist in determining whether this is indeed the case. Please, Mr. Douglas, ask your consulting geologists to help us (a team of physicists, hydrologists and programmers) in setting up a hydrological modeling program to find out whether the exploration holes drilled in the 1970s, by circulating water between previously isolated hydrologic layers, could be responsible for passing water through the uranium-bearing sands and lowering the water quality.

The question looming behind that study for us and of course for Douglas, with his interest in the public water supply, is whether in-situ uranium mining might produce a much larger version of the same effect.

Louis Sharpe lives in Fort Collins

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