A Message from Owe Aku's Allies: Powder River Basin Resource Council and Clean Water Alliance:
THE THREAT: "Strata Energy is at it again. They have submitted a license application asking the NRC to let the company expand their uranium mining and processing site in Crook County near Devil's Tower and Oshoto Reservoir.
"Our organization, along with Natural Resources Defense Council, appealed Strata's first NRC license. Submitting expert evidence about water restoration and contamination concerns, we asked the NRC to fully consider the impacts of the proposed project through its environmental review process. While our appeal is still pending with the NRC, Strata is asking the agency to let it expand its project to cover an additional 7,800 acres.
THE ACTION YOU CAN TAKE: "Please submit comments to the NRC by Friday April 22nd asking the agency to consider impacts to water, land, and other resources in the environmental review evaluation.
"Written comments may be submitted by mail to Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: OWFN-12-H08, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; or by email to KendrickSEIS@nrc.gov. Please reference Docket ID NRC-2011-0148 in your letter or email.
"In your comments, please ask the NRC to:
- Consider that the proposed uranium mining and processing area has over 5,000 abandoned drill holes from the early days of uranium exploration. Thanks to our efforts, the NRC has been requiring Strata to locate and plug these old exploration wells prior to mining, but there are still concerns. This license condition MUST be applied to the expansion project because old wells in the area could serve as conduits for water contamination from Strata's project. NRC has identified that water contamination could result from "improperly plugged previous exploration drillholes that have not yet been properly abandoned." NRC needs to do a better job at analyzing the risk that these old drillholes – both inside and immediately adjacent to Strata's project area – represent.
- Consider that the proposed mining and processing process has an extremely high consumptive use of water, which has the potential to draw down the aquifers that provide drinking water and water for livestock.
- Consider the track record of spills, excursions, pond leaks, and failed aquifer restoration at previous uranium mines in Wyoming, Nebraska, and Texas. Impacts of past uranium projects have been significant – with routine spills, leaks, and excursions of chemicals into adjacent aquifers. To date, not a single uranium project has fully restored an aquifer to pre-mining water quality. There is no indication that Strata's operations will prevent these impacts.
- Consider the cumulative impacts to water quality and quantity from the full scope of Strata's whole project, which includes this first permitted site of the Ross Project with an anticipated four additional projects in the approximately twenty mile area of the "Lance District" in Crook County. Strata should not be allowed to expand until Powder River Basin Resource Council's appeal for the Ross Project is settled
- Minimize light pollution and other industrial impacts to landowners in the Oshoto area and to Devil's Tower National Monument.
- Minimize impacts to livestock grazing and recreation in the area.
- Minimize impacts from truck traffic, dust, and noise.
"Your comments do not have to be lengthy and technical. They can simply use the bullet points above or you can write in your own words why the NRC should do good analysis of the impacts.
And from Clean Water Alliance:
"Important information! This mine is on the northwest corner of the Black Hills near Mato Tipila (Devil's Tower). Please send comments by next Friday. Even short comments are very helpful.
"If you have questions, contact Shannon."
Clean Water Alliance
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