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Residents do not want uranium exploration Print

by Debbie Bell
Canon City Daily Record
May 23, 2008

GUFFEY — A groundswell of opposition to uranium exploration drilling in the Tallahassee area reverberated throughout this small mountain community Thursday night.

“Colorado needs to stand up and show Fremont County they are being watched,” said Anita Minton, organizer of the informational meeting. “We need neighbors to take a stand and say no.”

Black Range Minerals, an Australian company, will appear before the Fremont County Commissioners on Tuesday for a formal public hearing. The company has applied for a Conditional Use Permit to drill an estimated 800 holes across 8,169 acres on the Taylor and Boyer ranches in the Tallahassee area.

Tuesday’s hearing will encompass only the exploratory phase of the project. If the CUP is approved and the exploration eventually proves the area to be economically viable for a uranium mine, the company would later submit to a separate permit process to mine.

The limitations of the public hearing frustrated many in the crowd, including Jim Hawklee, president of the Tallahassee Area Committee, Inc. The neighborhood corporation formed explicitly to fight the exploration activity.

“This is like talking about an egg without talking about the chicken that gave you the egg,” Hawklee said.

Hawklee briefly discussed the plan before answering questions from the 60 people assembled at the Freshwater Saloon.

“This will affect you in Guffey,” he said. “We have common aquifers that we share. Any contamination could spread. We’re asking everyone who can to come down and let them know how you feel about uranium exploration.”

The vocal crowd left no doubt it was unanimous in its opposition to any type of uranium activity.

Guffey resident Robert White Bear said he had lived on two Native American reservations in South Dakota that had experienced uranium mining.

“Everything is dead within a thousand miles of the reservation now,” White Bear said. “Once they start drilling, all the people are going to suffer. All the animals are going to suffer.”

Hawklee said the key to protecting and preserving the quality of life in the Tallahassee area was to convince the commissioners to deny the exploration permit.

“The more political pressure we can put on them, the better,” Hawklee said. “We’re pretty concerned. It does not look good for us.”

Several Guffey residents expressed concern their opinions would not be considered because they are not Fremont County residents. The town is situated in Park County, a few miles away from Tallahassee.

“Our shared aquifer should give you the right to say something,” Hawklee said. “This is not a one-county operation. This could cross county lines.”

Minton said the community needed to band together to fight the proposal.

“The Black Range Minerals company is an excellent, smooth-talking snake,” Minton said. “That’s why we are asking this mountain community to join us in convincing the county commissioners to say no.”

The official public hearing will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the lower level of the County Administration Building, 615 Macon Ave. Like all public hearings, the commissioners may make a formal decision following the discussion, or they could postpone judgment until a later date.

Debbie Bell may be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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