Lawsuit to halt uranium mill can proceed

A suit by a Telluride environmental organization to stop a proposed uranium mill in Montrose County can go forward, a Denver judge ruled.

Denver District Judge Brian Whitney denied motions to dismiss the suit by the Sheep Mountain Alliance.

The alliance alleged in the suit that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment violated federal law in approving the Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in the West End of Montrose County near Naturita.

Denver-based Energy Fuels Resources Inc. is seeking to build the mill.

Whitney found that the alliance members’ agricultural, ecological, monetary property and recreational interests were at stake in the issuance of the license.

Sheep Mountain Alliance Executive Director Hilary White welcomed the ruling, saying that state radiation regulators and the uranium industry had “a cozy relationship that has caused long-term contamination to continue unabated here on the Western Slope and on the Front Range.”

Company officials anticipated such a ruling, said Steve Antony, Energy Fuels president and chief executive officer.

The suit names only the health department, but Energy Fuels is an indispensable party.

The company will file “appropriate legal responses,” Antony said.


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