A controversial plan to open an old uranium mine on Mt. Taylor near Grants, New Mexico, faces an obstacle in the new law passed by the Colorado legislature that forbids increased operations at uranium mills until the mill companies clean up sites contaminated in the past. The Cotter Uranium Mill, just a little over a mile south of Cañon City is owned by the same company that owns the Mt. Taylor mine and is the designated recipient of future Mt. Taylor uranium ore. Under the new law, which Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter has yet to sign, Cotter would not be able to accept the ore, at least not any time soon.
Posts Tagged Superfund
U.S. Sen. Mark Udall announced Wednesday that he introduced “Good Samaritan” legislation that would provide legal protection for non-profit and other groups who would cleanup water contamination issuing from abandoned mines across Colorado.
LEADVILLE — It’s a fall morning in the mountains just outside this Lake County town. Contractors in yellow earthmovers are cleaning up acid mine drainage in the Sugarloaf Mining District. They’re part of a unique government-nonprofit-college collaboration that has made great strides in improving water quality in the Lake Fork of the Arkansas River. Everyone involved in this feel-good project, however, is a target of potential lawsuits under the Clean Water Act.
LEADVILLE — To outsiders, the amber hills of piled up mine waste, or tailings, that mark the countryside here are just part of the dramatic mountain scenery. But they’re the subject of a new round in a long conflict between historic preservationists and environmentalists.
To some long-time Leadville residents and state preservationists, the tailings piles are a valuable part of a distinct local history, a symbol of the great gold and silver booms of the past. To the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, though, they are poison, the refuse of a century and more of industrial extraction that, despite decades spent on clean-up efforts, is still leaching heavy metals like zinc and cadmium into area water, putting the Arkansas River and downstream communities and wildlife at risk.
The Environmental Protection Agency has issued some new regulations designed to make it easier for citizens and volunteers — called Good Samaritans — to clean up abandoned mining sites and improve water quality.
There are 22,000 abandoned mines sites…