By Judy Fahys
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 10/24/2007 12:58:35 AM MDT
Utah lawmakers continue to push in Congress for speedy cleanup of the Atlas uranium tailings pile outside of Moab.
On Monday, the U.S. Senate passed the defense authorization bill that contains a provision to develop plans for removing the massive waste pile from the edge of the Colorado River by 2019.
“I have said all along it is entirely unacceptable for the cleanup of these tailings to take over 20 years,” said. U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett, a Utah Republican and sponsor of the provision. “I believe it is completely doable and logical to have it completed by 2019.”
Elected leaders at the state, local and federal levels have been prodding the federal government for years to get the contaminated pile off the riverbank.
They grew concerned last spring when the U.S. Energy Secretary said the job might not be done until 2028.
“That’s just unacceptable,” said Joette Langianese, a Grand County Council member.
Similar expedited cleanup directions were included in the House-passed version of the defense bill at the request of U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah. That means it is more likely that some form of cleanup instructions will be part of the final bill.