Federal spending not new to valley

The $200 million sought by local officials under a proposed stimulus package would be minuscule compared to the granddaddy of all federal projects in the Grand Valley.

The removal, cleanup and burial of uranium mill tailings under the U.S. Energy Department’s Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Program from the Grand Valley alone cost almost $750 million.

That project and similar mill-tailings cleanups across the Western Slope cost about
$1 billion, according to a rport from the General Accounting Office.

The cleanup included removing from the Climax Uranium Mill in downtown Grand Junction low-level radioactive tailings that were used in construction projects around the region.

The tailings and other radioactive materials were buried in a repository south of Grand Junction.

The project was a major Grand Valley employer during the years immediately after the oil shale bust of 1982.

Federal works programs also made a mark on the south side of the Grand Valley during the Great Depression.

The Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Project Administration worked in Colorado National Monument to build the 23-mile-long Rim Rock Drive, Serpents Trail and the superintendent’s house during the 1930s as part of the Franklin Roosevelt administration’s efforts to put people to work.


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