GUEST COMMENTARY | ‘Please Don’t Play Political Games With the Health and Economy of This County’
by Skip Edwards, Advocacy Coalition of Telluride
Oct 25, 2012 | 1192 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print

TELLURIDE – Our governments’ recent unanimous decision to approve a settlement agreement regarding a pending application the Pinion Ridge Uranium Processing Mill came as quite a surprise.  San Miguel County and the Town of Telluride gave permission to the State of Colorado and the Colorado Department of Public Health the the Environment, to use our town and county as a sacrifice zone for uranium processing and radioactive material storage.

The following is an open letter from the Advocacy Coalition of Telluride, to all of our elected representatives in Telluride and San Miguel County and an alert to concerned citizens of Telluride.

ACT is sponsoring a second community meeting for elected officials and community members to discuss this action, in the Wilkinson Public Library, Program Room, on Tuesday, Oct 30, 5:30-8 p.m. Please plan time to attend.

Please help us.

We feel that our health and the health of the next seven generations is being threatened.

Our local officials continue to proclaim that they are against the mill. We are sorry, but contrary to what our local officials are trying to tell us, they cannot agree to allow something and be against it at the same time.

When you gave Energy Fuels the Town’s and County’s approval to build the Pinion Ridge Mill, even with conditions to monitor the mill and put signs on trucks, you approved the mill.  

No dose of uranium can be considered safe.  Please don’t play political games with the health and economy of this county.  Everywhere uranium has been extracted and processed, it sickens and kills.  It has done so for prior generations on the West End of San Miguel County and Montrose County.  It has done so all over Grand Junction and to our neighbors all over the Four Corners.

You say you are opposed to nuclear power, which makes us assume you mean nuclear bombs as well. You say that we can mitigate the impacts of the mill.  Surely you must realize the deadly uranium byproducts from Energy Fuels’ mill can and most likely will also be used for bombs.  We must therefore assume that your remedy for nuclear devastation, cancer and other deadly results of uranium processing is a negotiated settlement that simply requires mitigation?

How do you negotiate cancer?  How do you mitigate death?

We say: Promoting uranium mining, milling and transportation is inhumane, environmentally and economically damaging and will certainly cause the untimely deaths and ill health of untold numbers of people.  If our kids could speak out they would say they don’t want their health negotiated and mitigated.  In the absence of their voices, our kids rely on us to protect their health.

We do not want you or your kids or your grandkids to die unnaturally.  We don’t want our kids or our grandkids to die unnaturally.  And we don’t want our neighbors or their kids or their grandkids to die unnaturally from this completely unnecessary Energy Fuels’ project.

When winds blow, the uranium filled dust particles settle into our valley’s soil and contaminate our water supply.  This negotiated mitigation intended to protect us protects nothing.  There is no safeguard against blowing wind – wind which blows our way, as a rule.  We will simply be paying for monitoring that records the amount of noxious material to which we have already been exposed!  This agreement simply makes our home a future sacrifice zone!  Through your negotiated settlement all we have gained is the privilege of paying for the monitoring of our own potential demise.

It does appear that decisions were made hastily, with little public notice. Ironically, that is the exact reason that Sheep Mountain Alliance was able to sue for another hearing to be held in Nucla.  We feel strongly that decisions that will affect the health and economy of our town and county for many years and generations to come should not be made in this way.  Consider what it says to a judge when San Miguel County and the Town of Telluride by way of its elected representatives give its approval to Energy Fuels’ poisonous Pinion Ridge plans.  It says that all of us who live here are giving our approval to Pinion Ridge and nothing could be farther from the truth.  Thus, we respectfully cannot accept our elected officials’ decisions as final without sincere public discussions.

We want your help, not your concessions, in stopping this project.  Please tell us your seemingly hasty decisions were just that, hasty decisions that have not been thoroughly thought through, yet.  We want to believe in all of you and that you want to protect the health of our community and our ecological beliefs, which when followed, will yield a prosperous, yet environmentally safe economy.

Again we want and need your help:

You can stop it now; you can be the champions. Please stand up to Energy Fuels; tell them no amount of profits or jobs are worth our health. Stand up for us; turn this around while we still have a chance. Tell Energy Fuels on our behalf, “No, thank you, we don’t want to be the sacrifice zone. e weant clean air, water and soil; we want a healthy economy; we want to be free of the stigma of being within the airshed of the first uranium mill to be approved in over 25 years. We want you to lead us. The only way to oppose something is to say ‘“No!” Anything less than “No” is approval!

We need your help; it is not too late. 

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