The Vision statement for Montrose County states, “Each generation leaves a legacy for the next generation.” Should that legacy for Montrose County continue as a dumpsite for uranium mining waste from abandoned sites and toxic uranium mill tailings? The towns of Naturita and Uravan have generated tons of uranium waste in the past and will remain radioactive for thousands of years. The new proposed uranium mill will leave a toxic legacy of almost seven-million tons of toxic waste in the Paradox Valley.
The lands in Montrose County are considered one of the most spectacular for scenery. They have supported industries of logging, mining, grazing and a large recreation and tourism-based economy.
Historically wildlife has been a treasured resource of the county due to its economic and recreational values. In addition, the Division of Wildlife has voiced their concerns to the Montrose County officials regarding habitat destruction and potential toxic danger to the waterfowl. They are concerned about the habitat loss and dramatic decline for the Gunnison sage grouse.
Consider the fact that Montrose County is a largely undeveloped region in the western United States [and] that the air quality in the county is excellent and probably as clean as anywhere in North America.
The cultural history of Montrose County spans thousands of years. There are sites and objects that have heritage value beyond their historical value. Some of these are sacred sites that have religious significance for Native Americans, which include their rock art. There are sites at the proposed mill that the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation state are eligible as National Historical Preservation sites.
Montrose County should consider future long-range development and not the shortsighted interests that will leave a toxic legacy. Montrose County should be considered a National Historic Landmark; preserved and protected for thousands of years!
– Joan Seeman, Sierra Club, Rocky Mountain Chapter, Environmental Toxics Chair