Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cotter's defunct uranium mine could draw new slaps

Comment:  Look at the following comment:  "The attorneys for Cotter offered to submit a PowerPoint presentation to the board to explain "the impossibility of compliance."  Can't wait for the presentation proving uranium mining will ruin our water!  The bunch of uranium companies in Virginia are not telling the truth about uranium mining, they say it's great and safe because of the great laws of the EPA!  Well don't  think so!  No to uranium mining and milling!

By Bruce Finley
The Denver Post
Posted: 11/18/2010 01:00:00 AM MST

Colorado mining regulators squared off against Cotter Corp. on Wednesday, weighing whether to levy additional fines, declare new violations and order the company again to clean up its defunct uranium mine west of Denver that threatens water supplies.

Cotter's attorneys conceded that Cotter has not taken a step toward complying with an existing state order to pump out and treat toxic water filling the Schwartzwalder mine.

That mine sits upstream from Denver Water's Ralston Reservoir, which supplies drinking water to 1.3 million metro-area residents.

State inspectors have found uranium contamination more than 10 times higher than health standards for drinking water.

Brown argued that the required corrective actions are broad and unclear and that Cotter would need time to move in equipment and have a place to put the water it removes.

"Cotter, maybe, should have asked these questions right after the order came out," board attorney Jillian Allison said.

Colorado Department of Natural Resources deputy director Bob Randall asked three times whether Cotter has begun removing the water.

Brown finally answered: "No."

The attorneys for Cotter offered to submit a PowerPoint presentation to the board to explain "the impossibility of compliance."

Board members will continue their hearing today, when they will decide whether to impose additional fines of up to $1,000 a day for 78 days, issue new violations and a "cease and desist order" that essentially repeats state demands.

Cotter separately has taken its case to Denver District Court, filing a lawsuit against the state.

It asks that a judge block state efforts to order the cleanup and impose fines and accuses the state mined lands board members of abusing their discretion.

A subsidiary of San Diego-based defense contractor General Atomics, Cotter also is embroiled in disputes with state regulators over a contaminated uranium mill near Cañon City and a uranium mine in western Colorado.

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