With all the progress and momentum being made in our state regarding renewable energy, I have been stunned by the plan to mine for uranium right here in Weld County, 11 miles outside of Fort Collins. The value of uranium has skyrocketed due to the renewed interest in producing nuclear energy throughout the world. It seems we just don’t learn from our mistakes. After living through the disasters at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, how can we possibly support the growth of nuclear power facilities once again?
We, not the companies who profit from these plants, bear the cost of their recklessness. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent cleaning up accidents, spills and waste from these facilities; not to mention the price we’ve paid with human lives and health care for thousands of people who have suffered from radioactive contamination.
Does anyone believe that mining uranium at this site will be a benefit to our community? Of course the people with a financial interest in this project do. They want us to believe they are trustworthy, and this is no different than any other mining project. I find this unconscionable!
Nuclear energy is neither cost-efficient nor clean. To get a real picture and the facts, just pull up Web sites on Chernobyl or on nuclear power. It is extremely disturbing. Every site I saw disputed the notion of nuclear power being cost effective, while noting the catastrophic risks to our health, our environment as well as our security. We have other energy options that don’t pose these risks.
Here are some of the basic things we know:
> Exposure to radioactive waste poses severe health risks to humans.
> There is no way anyone can guarantee there will not be accidents, spills, leaks or groundwater contamination when mining for uranium.
> There is no safe or inexpensive way to dispose of radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.
> Once uranium is unearthed, nuclear weapons can be made and nuclear power plants can become targets for terrorist attacks.
> All living things on Earth are connected to one another. Thinking we are separate from nature is what causes damage to the earth and to mankind.
This is not something to take lightly. Fortunately, our U.S. and state representatives, both Republicans and Democrats, are voicing their concerns about the safety of this proposed mining.
I would like to challenge them to take it one step further. I would ask them to write legislation that would ban uranium mining throughout the entire state of Colorado. And although it is comforting to know our elected officials care deeply about this topic, I hope our community will also choose to speak out against uranium mining.
If we care enough to take a stand about whether or not a new roundabout or Wal-Mart is built or which grade our kids will start high school, let’s care enough about each other and our community to stop this before it is too late. Powertech is applying for permits next year.
Please call or write our U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, (970) 663-3536; the Weld County commissioners, (970) 336-7204; Gov. Bill Ritter, (800) 970-3468; and/or any of our Larimer County or state representatives. Let them know uranium mining is a danger to our health and our environment and it has no place in Weld County or anywhere in Colorado.
Marge Dugan lives in Fort Collins