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TOPIC: Uranium is a Bad Idea
We don’t want uranium mining in the Black Hills. Uranium is radioactive, and the mining process contaminates water, air, and soil. It is simply impossible to mine uranium without releasing radiation.
Everyone knows that radiation is bad for people – also plants and animals. Research has linked uranium mining to cancer, genetic damager, and kidney problems.
In fact, the health problems from uranium mining are so severe that the Colorado Medical Society, the main voice for doctors in the state, voted to oppose proposed uranium mining.
We owe ourselves and our children clean water and good health. The easy way to avoid the risks of uranium mining is to stop it before it starts.
Uranium companies are active in the Black Hills area. If they are able to begin mining, our water will be contaminated. The companies want to do something called “in situ” leach mining. This mining takes place out of sight and – if we let it – out of mind. It involves purposely contaminating water so that they can get the uranium. The fact is that no in situ leach operation in the United States has ever returned the water to its original condition.
Why would we let a Canadian company do this to us? They can leave our area any time. They can leave the mess behind, as their Environmental Vice President has done before.
We have to stop this proposal and others like it before they start. If they are able to start, the equipment, processes, and transportation will be in place. We need to stop them before that happens.
Take action now. Call your state and federal officials and tell them that we don’t want this to happen. Be prepared when public comment periods on permit applications are held. Tell your friends and neighbors about this proposal and our determination to stop it.
What is this “in situ” leach mining that uranium companies want to start in the Black Hills? The basic idea is to leach the uranium out of underground aquifers without digging it up.
The key word is “aquifers.” The uranium is mined out of water-bearing rock. This includes aquifers that people and livestock use.
The company drills holes – hundreds of them for a typical operation. Then it pumps a mixture of water, air, and a chemical underground under pressure. The mixture is pushed through the water-bearing rock. It leaches the uranium out of the ground, and pumps it back to the surface.
It’s all under pressure. So leaks are part of the operation. Common leaks “escape” from the mining area and end up moving through the aquifer. Or pumps break. Or the joints between pipes leak. Then radiation, heavy metals (lead, arsenic, etc.), and chemicals end up in our water.
It’s underground, so no one can see what’s happening. But the result is sure. No uranium company has ever restored the water in an area mined by in situ leaching to its original state. Never.
Stop the plan to mine uranium.