Printed letters, Nov. 13, 2011

Gary Harmon’s article on the Moab uranium tailings requires correction as they are being relocated, not cleaned up. The original tailings dump was beautifully engineered and, prior to being exhumed, was in perfect condition, hermetically sealed from the surface environment.

The decision to dig up and relocate it was purely political and, ironically, totally counter-productive. Now that it is exposed to wind and rain it is causing exactly the kind of contamination that the environmentalist proponents of the relocation claimed they were concerned about to begin with.

The original claim by environmentalists that the tailings were leaching into the Colorado River and poisoning fish locally and the good citizens of Los Angeles was a leap of disingenuous junk science that beggars the imagination. The Colorado River and its numerous tributaries cut through hundreds of uranium deposits all across the immense Colorado Plateau, both upstream and downstream of Moab, so of course there is uranium in the river. And, based on this magnificent display of science, the feds will spend close to $1 billion of the taxpayers’ money.

Also, I find it interesting to note the contrast between the article expressing environmental alarm about the fellow who wants to reopen his alabaster mine and the joy with which Sen. Mark Udall greeted President Obama’s signing of legislation enabling ski resorts operating on federal land to stay open year round. There are dozens of resorts, each hundreds of clear-cut mountain acres in size, choking in the exhaust of thousands of cars, sheltering under the cacophony of industrial and human noise pollution and drowning in the millions of gallons of sewage. Yet, none of this seems to stress to the environment or disturb the otherwise sensitive bighorn sheep. However, a guy with his little underground quarry and his environmental footprint of a few acres does? Right.


Grand Junction

Uranium tailings being sent to local disposal site

I recently read in the Department of Energy newsletter that the Grand Junction Disposal Site for our uranium mill tailings received over 400 truckloads of radioactive materials from the Highway 160 uranium mill site in Tuba City, Ariz. The loads were transported between June 14 and Aug. 29 this summer. As far as I know, there was no public notice or comment opportunity.

In July 2009, two Daily Sentinel editorials, former county commissioners and Mesa County citizens expressed opposition to the attempt to store out-of-state mercury in our disposal site because the promise had been made of storing “only low-level, locally generated radioactive waste.”

The Sentinel also expressed concern that “Residents of this community have every reason to wonder what might come at some time in the future, regardless of any promises that may be made today.” These 400 truckloads show Mesa County’s continued pressure to accept waste from elsewhere.

Historically produced radioactive materials and waste continue to be the Achilles heel for the nuclear industry and the Department of Energy. If the United States is to see a nuclear resurgence, then real state-by-state processes to clean up, store and monitor radioactive wastes should be a necessary requirement before new developments could occur. Trucking radioactive wastes interstate to dedicated sites is not a long-term solution.

Questions come to mind: Did the 750-mile, 2-day route for the radioactive materials travel on Highway 141 past the proposed Pinon Ridge uranium mill and through Gateway? Have there been other outside shipments of nuclear waste to our site? What does the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Energy and Grand Junction say? Has it changed?


Grand Junction

Clifton sales tax allows outsiders to help pay costs

Yes, I do not live in the Clifton area, but I have eaten in the area. The only time that I look at the price of your food is when it is time to pay the check. That is how I pay the waiter’s their tip. Yes, people will look at what you charge for your food. And, yes, the cost of food has gone up, but so has everything else.

The sales tax is just an extra that customers pay on everything else they purchase, regardless of the price. Some people, like me, eat out many times and pay whatever the price is. Come on, let other people help improve your area with a sales tax and not a tax on your property. If your food and service is good then, if they want to come to your place, as I have, they will.

I was told by one of my gas suppliers year ago, that if a person’s tank is not full and they need to go someplace for some reason, they will buy it. Yes, this is a tax increase, but not as bad as one on your property.

Thanks, for reading , as some may say it’s none of my business. Just an 87-year-old man giving a little advice




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