Judge halts uranium leasing program
A federal judge on Tuesday suspended a 42-square-mile federal uranium-leasing program in southwestern Colorado over concerns potential environmental impacts have not been adequately considered.
The ruling was made in response to a lawsuit brought by five conservation groups that sought to halt the Department of Energy’s leasing program, which they say threatens the Dolores and San Miguel rivers.
In a news release, the groups said the 53-page ruling invalidates the department’s approval of the program, suspends its 31 existing leases, bars issuing new leases, and prevents further exploration, drilling or mining at all 43 mines approved under the program until new environmental reviews occur in compliance with federal environmental laws.
“This is an important ruling that will help ensure that any uranium mining and milling that may take place in the Dolores River watershed is protective of the environment and human health,” Hilary White, executive director of Sheep Mountain Alliance, one of the lawsuit plaintiffs, said in the news release.