Printed letters, April 3, 2012
The recent news of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s interference in the Piñon Ridge uranium mill licensing issue, as reported in the March 15 edition of The Daily Sentinel, raises some important and alarming concerns.
First is the fact that this is a state issue, in which the NRC has no authority. Colorado is an Agreement State, meaning that the NRC has transferred all regulatory and licensing authority for source materials (i.e. uranium) and related facilities to the state under an agreement signed by the governor and the commissioner of the NRC.
Therefore, the NRC’s role should be limited to providing periodic assistance to the responsible state agencies — it certainly does not include any right to intervene retrospectively in a licensing decision made by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Perhaps even more troubling than overstepping its authority is the manner in which the NRC did so. Rather than communicating directly with the state Health Department, the NRC chose to address its letter to the lawyers for one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Health Department over the issuance of the license, which is currently before the courts,
In addition, the timing of the letter was such that it amounted to a direct intervention in an ongoing legal matter. To say this is inappropriate behavior for an agency of the federal government is a prodigious understatement.
The fact is that the Pinon Ridge mill received overwhelming local support, which was documented by the Health Department at numerous public hearings. The failure to win in either courts of law or public opinion should not serve as an excuse for the fringe environmentalist lobby — and certainly not for a federal government agency — to inappropriately manipulate the process to their ends.
The NRC owes Coloradans an explanation and an apology for its actions.
Western Slope Coordinator
Americans For Prosperity Colorado
Basic information lacking from Daily Sentinel story
I cannot believe The Daily Sentinel recently won so many awards. If this is quality, no wonder print media is a dying breed. I must be insane to expect fair-and-balanced reporting when the Sentinel seldom even answers the basic journalistic questions of who, what, where, when, why and how.
Some days, the writing contains enough grammatical errors that I wonder if anyone proofreads any of it.
Although my exasperation with this publication has been building for some time, the recent article titled, “Police: Doctors wouldn’t sign off on assault case,” was the last straw. Not once did the writer address why the doctors wouldn’t sign the affidavit, other than the explanation provided by the officer that they did not want to testify.
How about this for an guess: The article states that the doctor who treated the victim was not available. Do you really expect a physician who did not see this patient to sign off on something that is legally binding and will be used in sentencing? Thanks to malpractice and privacy laws, doctors have more knowledge of the legal consequences of their actions than most people.
Please, Daily Sentinel, start asking the commonsense questions that will properly explain the issues.
New regulations having opposite of desired effect
The Obama administration implemented new regulations in 2012 making it harder for energy companies to lease natural gas and oil owned by the American public. Washington said the new regulations would make leasing easier by reducing appeals and litigation, which causes the BLM to spend all its money on lawyers instead environmental protection. Although under this administration, Colorado’s federal leasing program is almost non-existent, our organization remained open-minded, but understandably suspicious. Today, western Colorado is the test case for the Ken Salazar’s on-shore lease reforms in coal and gas-rich Delta County.
As reported by Gary Harmon, after numerous community meetings, a public forum and robust public comment, citizens groups are appealing the BLM’s decision to offer energy leases in Delta County’s North Fork Valley. And when the citizens’ group loses its appeal, litigation is the next step of delay. If the nominated parcels do finally make it though bureaucracy, delays and litigation, then the same groups will continue delay once drilling is proposed.
The new regulations, counter to the administrations’ original argument, are making an already cumbersome leasing process more difficult, expensive and slow. This, at a time when doing business on federal lands has never been harder. With regional unemployment near 10 percent, and local energy companies largely dependent on publicly owned minerals for future drilling, this local test case of the new regulation has implications for our future.
But the fundamental question for society is this: Should provincial interests of a single community, which view energy as being incompatible with their way of life, be a sufficient reason to withhold the federal mineral estate from the larger American public? Secretary Salazar will help answer that question through these new regulations. The answer has meaning for Daily Sentinel readers and our local energy economy.