NEWS ARCHIVE ◊ 2011
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DECEMBER 26, 2011
DIVISION OF RADIATION CONTROL
PROPOSES RULE TO DEFINE "MAJOR" LICENSING ACTIONS
Comments Due January 3, 2012
The Utah Division of Radiation Control (DRC) has proposed a rule to define "major" licensing actions that require public notice ans an opportunity to provide comment. The DRC is providing an opportunity for the public to comment on the proposed rule.
According to the Notice of Proposed Rule: "This amendment to Rule R313-17 defines what licensing actions are considered to be major actions, and the amendment requires that a public notice be issued and a public comment period be held for license categories 2b and c, 4a, b, c, d, and 6 as identified in Section R313-70-7." The categories include uranium recovery and radioactive waste disposal.
The Proposed Rule also allows the Executive Secretary to provide a notice and opportunity to comment on other licensing actions of interest. This rule will also impact the types of mill licensing actions that require an environmental analysis by the DRC, as required by the Atomic Energy Act (42 U.S.C. § 2021(o). Therefore, It is important that the DRC better define "major licensing action."
• Notice of Proposed Rule and Text of Rule
DECEMBER 23, 2011
DIVISION OF RADIATION CONTROL
OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT ON
LISBON VALLEY GROUNDWATER WORK PLAN
Comments Due January 20, 2012
The Utah Division of Radiation Control noticed an opportunity to comment on an Amendment to the decommissioned Lisbon Valley Uranium Mill license. Amendment 4 requires the submittal of a work plan and schedule related to the groundwater contamination at the former Mill site. Monitoring well data in 2010 showed increases in uranium concentrations, where decreased were expected. In 2004 the Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted Rio Algom Mining LLC alternate concentration limits (ACLs), because of a plume of contaminated water from the Mill. The revised License would require the submittal of the plan by December 16, 2011. Rio Algom has already submitted the plan and schedule, but the DRC decided to provide notice of the problems with increased uranium concentrations in the groundwater and provide an opportunity for the public to comment on amended license.
• DRC Website Public Notice
• Newspaper Notice
• Draft Amendment 4 to License No. UT19000481
• Statement of Basis for Amendment 4
• Statement of Basis for Groundwater Discharge Permit - 2007
• Work Plan - Supplemental Site Asessment: Out of compiance Status at Trend Wells RL-1 and EF-8 | Lisbon Facility - December 13, 2011
DECEMBER 21, 2011
UTE MOUNTAIN UTE TRIBE CALLS FOR MAJOR
CHANGES in OPERATION of WHITE MESA MILL
The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe's Environmental Program submitted extensive comments on the License Renewal of the White Mesa Uranium Mill, calling for substantial changes in the Mill operation and the way that the Mill is regulated by the Utah Division of Radiation Control (DRC). The Tribe requested closure of 2 tailings impoundments (cells 2 and 3), additional air and groundwater monitoring, revised corrective action plan to address groundwater contamination, suspension of processing of alternate feed, a separate quality assurance plan, and other actions by the DRC and Denison Mines (USA) Corporation in order assure protection of the public's health and safety.
Uranium Watch also submitted comments on the Draft License and Safety Evaluation Report. UW questioned the lack of a complete environmental analysis of the License Renewal and asked for full documentation to show that the Mill was complying with applicable radiation exposure regulations.
• White Mesa License Renewal Comments, with Exhibits
DECEMBER 16, 2011
COTTER CORPORATION ANNOUNCES DECOMMISSIONING of CAÑON CITY MILL
On December 12, 2011, the Cotter Corporation notified the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) of their intention to decomission the troubled Cañon City Uranium Mill, near the Arkansas River in Colorado. Cotter no longer intends to refirbish the Mill, but will move to complete decommissioning and reclamation. At this time, the Mill does not have a final reclamation plan, which Cotter will have to submit for the CDPHE's approval. Cotter will also have to provide a sufficient reclamation bond.
The Colorado Citizens Against Toxic Waste (CCAT) have worked for many years for the proper cleanup and decommissioning of the Mill. The Mill has suffered from inadequate regulation since it began operation in 1958 and is a Superfund Site.
• Letter to CDPHE
• Denver Post Article
• Cotter Mill Information - Wise Uranium
• Cotter Mill Information - CDPHE
NOVEMBER 29, 2011
DRC EXTENDS COMMENT PERIOD for
WHITE MESA LICENSE RENEWAL
Comments Due December 21, 2011
The Utah Division of Radiation Control is soliciting comments on the draft License and Safety Evaluation Report for the license renewal of the White Mesa Uranium MIll, San Juan County, Utah. The DRC has initially decided to renew the license for an additional 5 years.
The 30-day public comment period will commence on Friday, October 14, 2011, and end at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 21. Uranium Watch has requested an extension of the comment period.
The Utah Division of Radiation of Radiation Control (DRC) has extended the period for comments on the Liense Renewal for the White Mesa Mill to December 21, 2011.
Mail Comments To:
Division of Radiation Control
P.O. Box 144850
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4850
E-mail Comments To: email@example.com
• DRC Public Notice
• Draft License
• Draft Safety Evaluation Report
• License Renewal Application
NOVEMBER 16, 2011
COMMENT ON EXTENSION OF
SHOOTARING CANYON MILL LICENSE
Comments Due November 25, 2011
The Utah Division of Radiation Control (DRC) is soliciting comments the request for a two year extension to the existing license for the Uranium One America Inc. Shootaring Canyon Uranium Mill located near the town of Ticaboo, Utah. The MIll processed ore for about 4 months in the early 1980s. Tailings from a decomissioned mill in Hanksville were also disposed of at the Mill. Comments are due by 5 p.m. on November 25, 2011.
On June 27, 2011, Uranium One submitted an extension request to give the company time to sell the mill before the license renewal application was due. The DRC has preliminarily decided to agree to a two year extension. In addition, the License is required to submit an updated reclamation plan, operating procedures and training records. A Statement of Basis was prepared by the DRC to explain the details behind the revised draft License.
• DRC Public Notice
Contact John Hultquist
• Extension Request
• Draft Revised License
• Statement of Basis
Mail Comments To:
Division of Radiation Control
P.O. Box 144850
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4850
E-mail Comments To: firstname.lastname@example.org
OCTOBER 10, 2011
LA SAL # 2 MINE -
OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT ON
DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
Comments Due November 7, 2011
The Bureau of Land Management, Moab Field Office, has issued a draft Environmental Assessment on the proposed removal of 10,000 to 20,000 tons of uranium ore from the La Sal #2 Mine in Lisbon Valley, San Juan County, Utah. Laramide La Sal, Inc. proposed the underground sampling project to confirm the geologic and metallurgic character of the ore. The ore would be trucked to the White Mesa Mill for assessment and processing. The site is a former Homestake mine that was partially developed, with a long decline into the underground workings.
Mail or deliver comments to:
Bureau of Land Management
Moab Field Office
82 East Dogwood Avenue
Moab, UT 84532
Or, email to: UT_Moab_Comments@blm.gov
• BLM Information
• Draft Environmental Assessment (5.7 MB)
• BLM Notice, EA, and Mine Plan of Operations
OCTOBER 5, 2011
FOREST SERVICE APPROVES
BLUE JAY EXPLORATION DRILLING
The US Forest Service, Moab/Monticello Ranger District, apporved the Utah Energy Corporation's Blue Jay Uranium Exploration Project. Utah Energy (now owned by Denison Mines USA Corporation) plans to drill up to 64 exploration holes in the Manti-La Sal National Forest, Southern Elk Ridge, approximately 25 miles west of Blanding, Utah. Most of the drilling will take place on roads and access routes that have been impacted by uranium exploration decades ago.
• Project Information
• Decision Memo (1.4 MB)
SEPTEMBER 21, 2011
NRC URANIUM RECOVERY WORKSHOP
SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENTS: LESSONS LEARNED
SEPTEMBER 28 | DENVER, CO
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will hold its Uranium Recovery Workshop in Denver, Colorado, on Wednesday, September 28, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MDT. The purpose of the workshop is for the NRC to share lessons learned from the development and recent completion of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statements (SEISs) for the in situ leach (ISL) uranium operations at the Moore Ranch, Nichols Ranch, and Lost Creek. This is an NRC Category 3 Public Meeting. Public participation is actively sought at this type of meeting, which has the widest participation opportunities and is specifically tailored for the public to comment and ask questions throughout the meeting.
Interested members of the public can also participate in this meeting via a toll-free teleconference. For details, please call the NRC meeting contact by September 23, 2011.
Antoinette Walker-Smith, FSME/DWMEP
1100 Fourteenth Street
Denver, CO 80202
• NRC Notice and Agenda
SEPTEMBER 15, 2011
EPA URANIUM CONTAMINATION STAKEHOLDER
WORKSHOP - FARMINGTON, NM
NOVEMBER 8th to 10th
- Register No Later Than October 21 -
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold the Uranium Contamination Stakeholder Workshop in Farmington, New Mexico, from Tuesday, November 8th to Thursday, November 10th. The workshop will be held at the Farmington Inn & Suites (The Red Lion in November) and is open to all interested persons. The Keynote Address to begin promptly at 8:30 am on the 8th. This is a chance to learn about the impacts of uranium mining, talk with people who are working in the field of uranium mine reclamation, and meet a community of people whose lives have been affected by the uranium industry.
Contaminated Water Sources — Contaminated Structures — Enforcement — Mine Cleanup Update — Uranium Permits & Licensing — Abandoned Uranium Mine Investigations — Health Education & Research: Introduction to the DiNéh Project (Navajo Birth Cohort Study) — Community Involvement: Site Tour (Thursday Morning)
For more information contact:
Alejandro Diaz (415) 972-3242 | email@example.com or
Lilia Dignan (415-972-3779) | firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the multi-agency Five-Year Plan: http://www.epa.gov/region9/superfund/navajo-nation
A more detailed agenda will follow.
Speakers and sessions may be video-taped and/or photographed.
• Registration Form
SEPTEMBER 10 , 2011
COMMUNITY AND CONSERVATION GROUPS
CALL FOR END OF DOE URANIUM LEASING PROGRAM
Uranium Watch, Sheep Mountain Alliance, and numerous other community and conservation groups submitted scoping comments on the Department of Energy's Uranium Leasing Program (ULP) Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). The groups called on the DOE to terminate the leasing program and reclaim all exisiting uranium mine sites. Mines at the lease sites in Mesa, Montrose, and San Miguel Counties in Colorado have remained on standby for years without being reclaimed and without production of ore. Many of the mine sites are leased by the Cotter Corporation, the owner of the Cañon City Mill, a Superfund Site. No ore has been produced since the middle of 2006 from any lease track mine, and it is unlikely that any would be produced in the near future. The proposed new Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill would take several years to construct, and it is not known when construction would commence, if at all. The groups asked the DOE to fully assess the cumulative impacts of the leasing program and all uranium mining in the area, including historic, current, and foreseeable mining impacts.
• DOE Uranium Leasing Program Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement Information Center
• Sheep Mt. Alliance-Conservation Groups Scoping Comments
• Uranium Watch-Conservation Groups Scoping Comments
• UW Exhibit A
• UW Exhibit B
SEPTEMBER 6 , 2011
URANIUM MINE CLEANUP - PROMPTED BY LOCAL NAVAJO WOMAN
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun the cleanup of contamination on Olijato Mesa from historic uranium mining activites in Monument Valley, Utah. local resident Elsie Mae Begay has worked for years to get the federal agencies to address the presence of the uranium bearing hazardous material in the community. The EPA is working in other communities in the Navajo Nation to address the toxic legacy of uranium mining.
• Associated Press Article
AUGUST 18, 2011
UTAH ENERGY PLANS EXPANSION OF
Utah Energy Corporation (a subsidiary of White Canyon Uranium Ltd.) plans to greatly expand the operation of the Daneros Mine in western San Juan County, Utah. Utah Energy submitted a Plan of Operations Modification to the Monticello Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in June 2011. Under the Modification, the Daneros Mine would increase the total uranium ore production from 100,000 tons to 500,000 tons and increase the total mine life from 7 years to 20 years.
Currently, there is not enough room for the waste rock that is being removed to support mine development. The BLM estimates that the mine will run out of room for waste rock in 5 to 6 months. Under the proposed Modification, an area near the old Bullseys mine would be used for waste rock disposal.
In response to the Modification request, on June 30, 2011, the BLM notified Utah Energy that the Plan of Operations Modification was not complete. The "Plan of Operations Modification Not Complete" notification requested additional information and clarification. The BLM also indicated that, due to the expansion of the acreage, the Division of Oil, Gas and Mining (DOGM) would consider the Daneros Mine a "Large Mining Operation." DOGM has not yet received the proposed amendment to the Daneros Mine operation, and the BLM has not yet made the Modification request publicly available. The Modification would require a new National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review.
Denison Mines (USA) Corporation (owner and operator of the White Mesa Uranium Mill) is in the process of acquiring White Canyon Uranium Ltd. (WCU). According to Denison's 2011 Second Quarter Report, they expect to complete the Acquisition in August 2011. WCU also owns the Lark-Royal, Thompson, Geitus, Blue Jay, and Marcy-Look Projects.
• BLM Letter to Utah Energy - June 30, 2011
JULY 21, 2011
DOE MEETINGS AND EXTENDED COMMENT PERIOD FOR URANIUM LEASING PEIS SCOPING
Comments Due September 9
The Department of Energy (DOE) has extended the time for the submittal of scoping comments on the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the DOE's Uranium Leasing Program (ULP). The DOE has also set up four meetings to receive scoping comments from the public in Colorado and Utah.
PUBLIC SCOPING MEETINGS
August 8, 2011
6:30 to 9:00 pm
1800 Pavilion Drive
Montrose, Colorado 81401
August 9, 2011
6:30 to 9:00 pm
Sheridan Opera House
110 North Oak Street
Telluride, Colorado 81435
August 10, 2011
6:30 to 9:00 pm
Naturita Community Building
411 West 2nd Street
Naturita, Colorado 81422
August 11, 2011
6:30 to 9:00 pm
San Juan County Court House
117 South Main Street
Monticello, Utah 84532
At each meeting, registration will start at 6:30, and the commenting session at 7:00, with a DOE introduction. Comment period starts at 7:15 pm. See Federal Register Notice for additional information.
• Federal Register Notice - July 21, 2011
JULY 19, 2011
SUIT FILED TO HAULT ISL URANIUM RECOVERY IN CHURCH ROCK AND CROWNPOINT, NEW MEXICO
Eastern Navajo Dine Against Uranium Mining filed a complaint in the New Mexico State District Court in Santa Fe, alleging that the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) improperly gave the go-ahead for mining-related activity while a groundwater discharge permit application was still pending. ENDAUM is represented by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC). According to NMELC:
The filing states that the Environment Department does not have authority to accept Hydro Resources, Inc.'s (HRI’s) ground water discharge permit application as a permit renewal under the Water Quality Act. The Water Quality Act regulations provide that NMED may issue a discharge permit for no longer than seven years. HRI’s permit was originally approved November 2, 1989 and last renewed in 1996, but HRI has failed to renew its permit since then. Even though HRI’s permit expired in 2003, NMED still considers HRI to have a valid permit, which would allow it to conduct uranium mining activities at its Section 8 site in Church Rock.
• NMELC Article
• NMELC Press Release
JULY 10, 2011
HOUSE BILL AIMS TO NULLIFY TEMPORARY WITHDRAWAL OF NEW MINING CLAIMS
AT GRAND CANYON
A Congressional subcommittee has voted to nullify the Department of Interior's extended 6-month ban on new mining claims near the Grand Canyon. The bill is a rider to the 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill. The rider would also grant Congress the sole authority to declare any future bans on mining claims in the area. The DOI had extended the moratorium to give the agencies time to review and address comments on the Environmental Impact Statement for the withdrawal of approximately 1,000,000 acres of public land from new mining claims. These claims would primarily be for uranium.
Without the ban, Denison Mines (USA) Corporation and other mining companies would still be able to develop at least 11 mines. The only uranium mining activity in the Grand Canyon area is the operation and re-opening of mines owned by Denison, the owner of the only operating uranium mill in the U.S. The extension of the moratorium would have little or no impact on uranium mining in the Grand Canyon area.
The House of Representatives is to vote on the bill in late July or early August.
Please sent your U.S. Congressperson a message and tell him or her to protect the Grand Canyon's watershed from uranium mining.
TO FIND OUT MORE AND TAKE ACTION: CLICK HERE
JUNE 30, 2011
DOE ANNOUNCES INTENT TO DEVELOP PROGRAMMATIC ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS STATEMENT FOR URANIUM LEASING PROGRAM
Scoping Comments Due August 9
The U.S. Department of Energy has announced its intent to develop a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to assess the impacts of the exploration, development, and operation of uranium and vanadium mines in Colorado on land that is part of the DOE's Uranium Leasing Program (ULP). DOE's ULP tracts involve approximately 25,000 acres of land in Mesa, Montrose, and San Miguel counties in western Colorado. In July 2007, DOE issued a Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) for the ULP (DOE/EA-1535), which examined three alternatives for the management of the ULP for the next ten years. The DOE issued a Finding of Significant Impact and determined that an Environmental Impact Statement was not necessary
DOE has now determined that, "in light of the site-specific information that DOE has gathered as a result of the site-specific agency actions proposed and approved pursuant to the July 2007 PEA/FONSI, it is now appropriate for DOE to prepare a PEIS in order to analyze the reasonably foreseeable environmental impacts, including the site-specific impacts, of a range of alternatives for the management of the ULP for the remainder of the ten-year period that was covered by the July 2007 PEA."
SEND ULP/PEIS SCOPING COMMENTS TO:
Ms. Laura Kilpatrick, Esq.
Realty Officer, Asset Management Team
Office of Legacy Management
U.S. Department of Energy
11025 Dover Street, Suite 1000
Westminster, Colorado 80021
You may also contact Ms. Kilpatrick for further information.
• Federal Register Notice
JUNE 28, 2011
BLM ISSUES REVISED DANEROS EA AND DECISION
IN RESPONSE TO SUWA'S APPEAL
On June 3, 2011, the Department of Interior's Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) determined that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Monticello Field Office, Monticello, Utah, did not adequately address the indirect impacts of processing the Daneros Mine Project ore at the White Mesa Mill. The BLM EA and decision was appealed by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. In response to the IBLA decision, the BLM issued a revised Environmental Assessment (EA), Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), and Decision Record (DR) on June 28, 2011.
The BLM made minimal changes to the EA regarding the indirect impacts of the processing of the ore at the White Mesa Mill and did not address the cumulative indirect impacts of the processing of all the uranium ore mined on BLM land, including current, proposed, and historic uranium mining operations. Since 1999 the Daneros, Pandora, Rim/Columbus, Tony M, Sunday (Colorado), and Arizona 1 (Arizona) Mines have supplied ore to the White Mesa Mill. Impacts include release of radionuclides into the community from the mill tailings, ore storage areas, evaporation pond, and mill stacks. Impacts also include the destruction of significant cultural resources, mainly ancient pit houses, due to the construction of additional cells for the disposal of the tailings and processing wastes.
• BLM ENBB Daneros Mine Project Information
• Revised EA/FONSI/DR
JUNE 20, 2011
DENISON MINES COMMENCES OPERATION OF LA SAL MINE WITHOUT AIR QUALITY APPROVAL ORDER, NO BLM PLAN OF OPERATION, AND MINIMAL ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
Denison Mines Corporation (Denison) has begun the operation of the La Sal Mine, one of the mines in the La Sal Mines Complex, without an updated Plan of Operations and Environmental Assessment and without an modified Approval Order from the Utah Division of Air Quality (DAQ).
The 1981 4-page Plan of Operations for the La Sal Mine does not even mention the mine or describe any of the mining operations for the La Sal, Snowball, and part of the Beaver Shaft, which are on Bureau of Land Management Land. The La Sal, Snowball, and Beaver Shaft, along with the Pandora Mine, are now called the La Sal Mines Complex.
The 1981 Environmental Assessment for the La Sal and Snowball Mine does not support the current operation and is not based on an adequate Plan of Operations. The BLM is still in the process of reviewing the Plan of Operations Amendment for the La Sal Mines Complex and developing the Environmental Assessment.
The Utah Division of Air Quality issued an Approval Order for the La Sal Mines Complex in October 2009. The order was for the operation of the Pandora Mine and Beaver Shaft, but not the La Sal Mine. The Approval Order was based on a May 2008 Notice of Intent that stated that Denison was operating the La Sal Mine. In October of 2010, Denison submitted a Notice of Intent to Modify their operation. The modification proposes changes to the exisitng Approval Order, including changes associted with the operation of the La Sal Mine. The DAQ has not yet made the Notice of Intent ot Modify and draft approval order available for public comment, nor issued a new approval order.
However, as of June 3, when Uranium Watch participated in a visit with BLM staff persons to the Pandora, La Sal, and Beaver Shaft waste rock pile, Denison was removing ore from the La Sal portal. Denison has been placing waste rock on one or more of the La Sal Mine waste rock piles. Uranium Watch has brought this situation to the attention of the BLM and DAQ.
APRIL 26, 2011
PUEBLO REJECTS REZONE OF LAND
FOR NUCLEAR POWER PLANT
The Board of Pueblo County Commissioners, Pueblo, Colorado, commissioners voted unaimously to reject a proposal to rezone 24,000 acres of land for an energy park that would include a nuclear reactor. Don Banner had requested the rezone as part of a plan to attract a utility or energy company to construct and operate a nuclear electrical generation station. There was a great deal of opposition to the proposal, and the commission received hundreds of oral and written comments.
According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, "Commissioners questioned where the mass quantity of water would come from, how a plant would fit into the surrounding rural area, how emergency services would be impacted and, the subject that has plagued the nuclear industry for decades, what would happen with the spent fuel rods, now stored indefinitely in pools?"
• Colorado Springs Gazette - April 25, 2011
• Denver Post - April 26, 2011
• KKTV - April 25, 2011
• Additional Information
APRIL 11, 2011
PROPOSED CHANGE TO ENERGY QUEEN MINE
UPDES PERMIT - COMMENT OPPORTUNITY
Comments Due May 11, 2011
The Utah Division of Water Quality (DWQ) has noticed an opportunity to comment on the modification of the Utah Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (UPDES) permit for Energy Queen Mine in La Sal, Utah. The proposed permit would add 2 additional locations for the discharge of treated mine water into West Coyote Creek. The mine, on private land, is owned by Energy Fuels Resources Corp. (EFR), the company that has received a permit to construct and operate a uranium mill in the Paradox Valley in nearby Colorado.
EFR must dewater the mine (former Hecla Shaft) prior to work underground. The water, which will contain high levels of uranium and radium, must be treated before discharge to meet Environmental Protection Agency standards. The ground water permit includes a 1.5 million gallon untreated water pond with a double liner system with leak detection, a concrete filter pad, a treatment plant with multimedia filters, and a contingency pond.
There does not appear to be any regulatory program that addresses the radionuclide emissions from the ponds and treatment system. EFR has not yet submitted an application to the Division of Air Quality for approval to construct, as required for underground uranium mines that are subject to the 40 C.F.R. Part 61, Subpart B regulatory standard.
PUBLIC COMMENTS -
Public comments are invited any time prior to the deadline of the close of business on Wednesday, May 11, 2011. After considering public comment the Utah Water Quality Board may execute the permit issuance, revise it, or abandon it. Written public comments can be submitted to:
UPDES Engineering Section
Utah Division of Water Quality
P.O. Box 144870
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4870
or by email at: email@example.com.
Additional Information -
• Public Notice
• Fact Sheet - Statement of Basis
• Draft Permit (UPDES Discharge Permit UT0025712)
• Energy Queen MIne
• Division of Oil, Gas, & Mining Energy Queen Files
APRIL 7, 2011
CONTINUING MSHA VIOLATIONS AT
LA SAL MINES COMPLEX
In March 2011 Uranium Watch (UW) submitted additional comments on the proposed expansion of the La Sal Mines Complex. Comments were submitted to the U.S. Forest Service, Manti-La Sal National Forest, regarding the proposed approval of Denison Mine Corporation's request to install an additional 14 radon vent holes and drill 130 exploration holes over the next 20 years. As of February 2011, radon was being emitted from 15 vents, 2 mine portals, and one mine shaft.
The USFS does not know the exact location of the disturbance associated with the proposed drilling, vent installation, and access routes. UW, Center for Biological Diversity, Canyonlands Watershed Council, Grand Canyon Trust, Sierra Club, and Utah Environmental Congress asked that the USFS deny the requests for exploration drilling and vent hole installation until the sites of the activities are known and Denison is able to show that the emission of additional radon will not result in a violation of the radon emission standard. The La Sal Mine Complex is currently in violation of that standard.
The Mine Complex also continues to be in violation of the Environmental Protection Agency standard for emissions of radon from underground uranium mines.
Additional Information -
• U.S. Forest Service - La Sal MInes Complex
• Bureau of Land Management - La Sal Mines Complex
• Uranium Watch, et al., Comments
• La Sal MIne Complex Annual Radon Emission Compliance Report for 2010
APRIL 5, 2011
CONTINUING MSHA VIOLATIONS AT
LA SAL MINES COMPLEX
The operators of the La Sal Mine Complex, Denison Mines (USA) Corporation (Beaver Shaft Mine) received 10 citations and 2 orders, Reliance Resources LLC (Pandora Mine) received 5 citations and one order from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) for health and safety violations in March. This is in addition to 11 citations in January, with proposed penalties of $13,372. MSHA has not yet assessed the penalties for the March citations.
Two of the March orders were issued because MSHA found hazardous conditions underground similar to previously identified hazardous conditions that had resulted in sections of the mines being closed off to workers. These included hazardous ground conditions related to scaling and support—the same type of conditions that caused the fatal accident in May 2010—and the need to wear respirators when the radon daughter concentrations exceed 1 Working Level. The mines have previously been cited for these hazardous conditions.
Additional Information (Pandora Complex Mine ID 4200470): http://www.msha.gov/drs/drshome.htm
MARCH 31, 2011
DIVISION OF WATER RIGHTS REJECTS
REQUEST FOR WATER FOR GREEN RIVER
On March 29, 2011, the State Engineer, Division of Water Rights rejected the request by Mancos Resources Inc. for water for a proposed uranium mill west of Green River, Utah. Mancos Resources had requested a new appropriation of 800-acre feet of water from the Green River. The State Engineer determined: "The applicant has not provided sufficient information to support a finding that the applicant has the financial ability to pursue this application in a timely manner."
Mancos Resources may request a reconsideration or request judicial review of the decision, but that this not likely. Mancos Resources failed to respond to a February 16, 2011, DWR request for financial information. Mancos Resources did not have any uranium mines in the Green River area.
• State Engineer Decision - March 29, 2011
• Additional Information
• Water Right Information
MARCH 30, 2011
NORTHERN ARIZONA PROPOSED WITHDRAWAL DRAFT EIS - 30 DAY EXTENSION OF
PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD
Comments Due May 4
The Bureau of Land Management has extended the public comment period for the Northern Arizona Proposed Withdrawal Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for an additional 30 days. Comments are now due on May 4, 2011. The EIS is an environmental analysis of the environmental impacts of withdrawing portions of public land north and south of the Grand Canyon from new filings of mining claims. The Proposed Withdrawal would primarily impact uranium mining. Currently, the White Mesa Uranium Mill in south east Utah is the only uranium mill that could process the uranium ore from the Grand Canyon area. Denison Mines (USA) Corporation is operating one mine on the north rim and plans to open other mines in the Grand Canyon area.
• News Release
• Draft EIS and other information
MARCH 27, 2011
EPA PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT
ON CONSTRUCTION OF TAILINGS IMPOUNDMENT
AT PIÑON RIDGE MILL
Comments Due April 18
The Environmental Protection Agency is providing an opportunity for informal comment on the Piñon Ridge tailings impoundment Tailing Cell A, which will not exceed 40 acres in area, and no more than 40 acres of evaporation ponds. The EPA proposes to approve the construction of the ponds.
Additional Information -
• Notice of Intent to Approve
• EPA Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill Rad NESHAPS Construction Approval
• Administrative Record
Comments can be submitted through April 18, 2011 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MARCH 25, 2011
COMMUNITY GROUPS REQUEST THAT US FOREST SERVICE DENY REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL
RADON VENTS AND EXPLORATION DRILLING
AT LA SAL MINES COMPLEX
Uranium Watch, Living Rivers, Canyonlands Watershed Council, Grand Canyon Trust, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, Utah Environmental Congress submitted comments to the US Forest Service Proposed Action for the La Sal Mines Complex. The groups requested that the USFS deny Denison Mines (USA) Corporation's request to install 14 additional radon vents and 180 exploration drill holes over the next 20 years on public lands in the Manti-La Sal National Forest, La Sal, Utah. The request is based on the fact that the location of the exploration drilling and vent holes are unknown at this time and the full environmental impacts, including cumulative impacts, cannot be fully evaluated at this time. The groups also requested that the USFS and Bureau of Land Management develop a full Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed expansion of the La Sal Mines Complex.
Currently, the La Sal Mines are emitting radon that exceeds the Environmental Protection Agency standard for radon-222 doses to the nearest members of the public. In December 2010 and January 2011 the La Sal MInes Complex received penalties from the Mine Safety and Health Administration totaling $20,542 for violations related to exposure of workers to unaceptable levels of radon or hazards related to potential worker exposure. In March 2011, Denison and Reliance Resources received 15 citations and 2 orders for violations of worker health and safety regulations.
• Comments to US Forest Service-La Sal Mines Complex - March 24, 2011
MARCH 3, 2011
MORE WORKER HEALTH AND SAFETY VIOLATIONS
AT LA SAL MINES
The January 2011 Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) inspections resulted in 5 worker health and safety violations at the Pandora Mine for Reliance Resources LLC and 6 violations at the Beaver Shaft for Denison Mines (USA) Corp. All MSHA violations were associated with the failure of the mine operators to properly protect the workers from exposure to radon daughters (short lived, highly radioactive particulates from the decay of radon) in the mines.
Both Denison Mines and Reliance Resources were cited for exposure of workers to air with concentrations of radon daughters exceeding 1.0 working level (WL) in active workings and for the failure of workers to wear respirators in areas where the radon daughters exceed 1.0 WL. Reliance Resources was also cited for improper ventilation, not posting inactive workings where radon daughter concentrations are about 1.0 WL, and failure to calculate and record complete individual exposures in active working areas with radon daughter concentrations are more than .03 WL. This followed an inspection of December 20 when Denison was fined $6,000 for exposure of workers to radon daughters above the acceptable level, improper ventilation, and failure to calculate and document worker exposure to radon daughters, or progeny.
At the beginning of December, Denison was citied for 12 other violations, some for the same violations that Reliance Resources was cited for after Hunter Diehl was killed at the Pandora Mine 2010. Denison failed to correct hazardous conditions associated with scaling and support and failed to have a competent person examine each working place at least once each shift for conditions that may adversely affect safety or health.
In 2009 Denison received 13 citations; Reliance Resources received 14; total penalties for all were $ 3,629. In 2010, Denison received 34 citations and orders; total penalties of $18,304. Reliance Resources received 18 citations and orders; total penalties of $2,664 (this does not include any penalties associated with the fatal Pandora Mine accident on May 26, 2010).
Denison has been ajusting its ventilation system to reduce radon emissions so that they do not exceed the standard for doses to the nearest residents, La Sal School, and road maintenance shed. It is difficult for Denison to meet both the dose standard for off-site exposures to radon and the underground worker exposure standards.
• MSHA - Mine Data Retrieval System
FEBRUARY 23, 2011
US FOREST SERVICE PROVIDES ADDITIONAL COMMENT OPPORTUNITY FOR
LA SAL MINES COMPLEX EA
Comments Due March 24
The Manti La Sal National Forest (USFS) has issued a Public Notice announcing an opportunity to provide scoping comments on the Environmental Assessment (EA) in response to the La Sal Mines Complex Plan of Operations Amendment (POA) for Denison Mines (USA) Corporation uranium mines in La Sal in northern San Juan County. The Bureau of Land Management-Moab Field Office (BLM) and the USFS will develop the EA. In addition combining all existing operations and facilities (3 vent holes) on USFS land, the POA proposed to install up to 14 new vents and disturb up to 34 acres of new land for exploratory drilling and road access on USFS land over the next 20 years.
Even if you have submitted comments during the initial scoping period ending January 31, please do so again if you wish to have appeal eligibility on the USFS decision or wish to add additional comments to those sent to the BLM, the lead agency for the EA. Comments are due on March 24.
• Plan of Operations Amendment
• Carbon County Sun Advocate Notice - February 22, 2011
• Contact: Joel Nowak (USFS):
435-636-3364 | email@example.com
• Mail or hand deliver comments to:
Responsible Official/Forest Supervisor
Manti-La Sal National Forest
599 West Price River Drive
Price, Utah 84501
• Fax: 435-637-4940
NOTE: E-mailed comments must be submitted in MS Word (*.doc) or rich text format (*rft).
FEBRUARY 20, 2011
DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT
FOR WITHDRAWAL OF GRAND CANYON LAND
FROM URANIUM MINING RELEASED
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Northern Arizona Proposed Withdrawal, which would withdraw of about 1 million acres on the north and south rim of the Grand Canyon from mineral development for 20 years. The EIS evaluated four alternatives: no withdrawal, withdrawal of all the land temporarily withdrawn, and two partial withdrawal plans. The BLM did not choose a preferred alternative and will consider comments on the draft EIS before making a final decision on the amount of land to be withdrawn. Comments on the EIS and proposed are due on Monday, April 4, 2011.
Public Meetings will be held in on March 7, 8, 9, and 10 in Phoenix, Flagstaff, Fredonia, and Salt Lake City.
• Meeting Schedule
Mail or hand deliver comments to:
Northern Arizona Proposed Withdrawal Project
ATTN: Scott Florence, District Manager
Bureau of Land Management
Arizona Strip District Office
345 East Riverside Drive
St. George, Utah 84790-6714
E-mail comments to: NAZproposedwithdrawal@azblm.org
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Chris Horyza, Project Manager
Bureau of Land Management
Arizona State Office
One N Central Ave., Suite 800
Phoenix, Arizona 85004
602-417-9446 | firstname.lastname@example.org
• Federal Register Notice (76 Fed. Reg. 9594)
• Draft EIS, News Release, Public Meetings, Information
JANUARY 31, 2011
COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS CALL FOR EIS FOR LA SAL MINES COMPLEX
Uranium Watch, Canyonlands Watershed Council, Center for Biological Diversity, Glen Canyon Group of the Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Trust, and Living Rivers has called for a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the expansion of the La Sal Mines Complex, La Sal, Utah. The groups submitted comments for the Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service-Manti-La Sal National Forest environmental review of the November 2010 Plan of Operations Amendment. The comments included an Environmental Protection Alternative. The mining complex is owned by Denison Mines (USA) Corporation, which also operates the Beaver Shaft. Reliance Resources LLC operates the Pandora Mine.
• Scoping Comments - January 31, 2010
JANUARY 5, 2011
COLORADO APPROVES PIÑON RIDGE MILL
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced its approval of proposed Piñon Ridge uranium mill in the Paradox Valley, Montrose County. CDPHE granted a radioactive materials license for a 500 ton-per-day uranium mill to Energy Fuels Resources Corporation. The initial license requires a financial surety of $11,070,890, to be submitted in increments, and contains other stipulations that must be met before the mill can be constructed and operated.
The department’s evaluation includes a determination of the CDPHE's Energy Fuels Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill License Decision contains a News Release, Fact Sheet, Environmental Impact Analysis, License, and other documents.
The Fact Sheet states that the applicant can request a hearing on the decision, but makes no mention of an opportunity for the public comment or request a hearing . The Atomic Energy Act (42 U.S.C., Chapter 23, Section 2021(o)(A, C, and D)), requires an opportunity, after public notice, for written comments and a public hearing, with a transcript, and that a written environmental analysis shall be available to the public before the commencement of any such proceedings.
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Last Updated December 31, 2011