E-mail letters, Jan. 26, 2010
Uranium drilling still poses health risks
Do people move to Grand Junction to be a part of “energy alley” or to be immersed in the on-going legacy of boom-and-bust uranium mining and milling?
We moved here because Mesa County was promoted as a fruit-growing region with great natural beauty and a friendly community offering recreational opportunity and diversified employment. During the ten years we have lived here, I have learned that most of this advertising is true. It is also true that in a book titled “Warm Sands,” Grand Junction’s story of involvement in uranium milling unveiled a legacy of health problems and concerns that continue to plague our citizens. Note the advertisements in The Daily Sentinel to apply for recompense for uranium damage.
When Grand Junction’s water was tested in the 1970s, it was considered unfit to drink. When Colorado Avenue was renovated in 2009, the tailings from yellowcake milling found in the roadbed had to be removed and carried away for protection of the people because it was highly radio-active. Colorado taxpayers have paid over $1 billion in clean up costs for past uranium operations and there is still need for more.
Now, Energy Fuels wants to open a new uranium mill in the Paradox Valley that would likely transport yellowcake through Mesa County. Gateway recreation area could be affected by concerns with air and water pollution causing sustainable economic opportunities to be seriously hampered.
Hopefully, people from Grand Junction will attend the public hearing on health and economic issues regarding Energy Fuels’ intention to open Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill. It will be held Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 6:00 p.m. in the Montrose Pavilion on the Montrose County Fairgrounds.
Conservation is not a partisan issue
There have been some recent cheap shots at global warming and the introduction of new air quality standards. Logic would dictate that the environmental stresses observed on a small scale (i.e. pollution trapped in a temperature inversion in the Grand Valley; or what one endures when visiting Salt Lake City during an inversion or Denver on an average smoggy day) might predict the larger scale stresses on the absorbing capacity of a “closed-loop” planet.
Even if one doesn’t buy into the scientific consensus of global warming — and is nonetheless still willing to live in a fouled nest — simple observation would beg the wisdom of conservation, and bio-centric living. This is not something that one assigns to the agenda of a particular political party. This is the assignment of all political parties.
This is simply the way that life on the planet that we borrow from our children ought to be approached. Instead, many prefer to pursue egocentric manipulation of one’s environment in disregard for more distant unobservable consequences — all in the name of a supposed prosperity.
True prosperity is not the dollars saved by avoiding a balanced life with one’s surroundings, but the wealth of a population with a secure future on this planet. And, for those who fear that this inconvenience should cost a lot of money, be assured there is a huge economic windfall in the natural capital of resource conservation and sustainable living. The risk of not understanding the present importance and economic benefit of a healthy world, is to pay a much greater future price. Some are apparently willing to accept this responsibility and the unimaginable consequences of being wrong.