Town of Telluride to Challenge Uranium Mill in Denver Court
he Town of Telluride, Colo., is taking its opposition to the licensing of the planned Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in Montrose County to court in Denver. The Telluride Town Council voted unanimously to retain the legal services of Public Justice to litigate the case.The ongoing litigation involves the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) licensing of the Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in the Paradox Valley of Montrose County. The location is approximately 50 miles from Telluride and twelve miles from Naturita, Colo., pictured at left.
In January, the CDPHE issued a Radioactive Materials License to Energy Fuels Resources Corporation as a result of Colorado being an “Agreement State” under the Federal Atomic Energy Act. Shortly after it was issued, the licensing decision by CDPHE was first challenged by the Telluride-based environmental group Sheep Mountain Alliance.
Following careful deliberation, members of council also expressed concerns over the potential negative impacts of an operational uranium mill in the area. According to Telluride Town Attorney Kevin Geiger and Public Justice, these possible impacts were given little or no consideration by the state in its review process.
“The mill poses a threat of significant environmental and socioeconomic damage to Telluride and the surrounding region,” said Richard Webster, an attorney at Public Justice, “including the toxic and radioactive contamination of the region’s air and water.”
Webster went on that intervention in the ongoing legal proceedings challenging the mill will provide Telluride with a formal voice in a deeply flawed licensing process by the CDPHE that failed to provide the Town or the public any meaningful role, contrary to the requirements of federal law.
“The Town looks forward, with the very capable assistance of Public Justice, to advancing its arguments and concerns with the Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill to the Denver District Court,” said Geiger, lead attorney for the Town of Telluride.