I'm writing in response to the Art Goodtimes “Open Letter To Naturita/Nucla” published in the September 10, 2009 issue of The Watch.
After making some official inquiries I would like to point out some facts to Commissioner Goodtimes...
1. Montrose County contributes to the financial support of the San Miguel County fairgrounds in reasonable proportion to its patronage by Montrose County residents.
2. Montrose County contributes to the financial support of the San Miguel County Cooperative Extension facility in reasonable proportion to its patronage by Montrose County residents.
3. The Uncompahgre Medical Clinic in Norwood is a FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) and as such is solely funded by the State of Colorado and the U.S. federal government.
Notwithstanding these minor matters of fact, if all Montrose West-Enders would have to do is officially recuse ourselves from the use of these facilities/services in order to get San Miguel and Ouray counties' NIMBYs (Not-In-My-Back-Yarders) to leave us alone and play their “I'm more politically correct that you are” games in some other venue, I'm sure it could be arranged.
Also, I have to say that it's hard for me to believe that the people of the Norwood area would actually elect a county commissioner who was so ignorant of the fiscal affairs of the county he represents.
– Jim Black, Redvale Nuclear Power Brings Much-Needed Jobs – And It’s Carbon-Free
Today’s rigid regulatory environment and technological innovation provide an opportunity for western Colorado to responsibly embrace a new and improved nuclear era. As demand for carbon-free energy grows, Colorado’s uranium industry becomes an increasingly vital asset for America's energy independence for many generations to come. The Piñon Ridge Mill will act as a catalyst for growth; creating secure mining, milling, and professional service careers that have been glaringly absent for decades. Acting as a member of the Western Small Miners Association, I assisted in an analysis of the “Economic Contributions from the Uranium Industry in Montrose County.” Our findings were staggering. The mill and associated mines could provide up to 623 direct jobs, and 766 indirect jobs in Montrose County alone. No doubt this would have long-lasting positive impacts to western San Miguel County as well. In the absence of industry, what else do the western Montrose and San Miguel Counties economies have to stimulate growth? Tourism? Not hardly. When is the last time you stimulated those economies with a vacation to Nucla or bought gas in Slickrock? It is apparent that economic growth in far-western Colorado hinges upon the success of the Piñon Ridge Mill. If you are struggling to cope with the pending nuclear revival, consider this reality: man didn’t put uranium inside Colorado’s borders; we put Colorado inside uranium country. We live in a land created for responsible industry, and NOW is the time to engage this essential resource.
– Mike Thompson, Cortez
More Support for Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill (This letter was sent to Montrose County Commissioners David White, Gary Ellis and Ron Henderson.) Editor:
This letter is written in support of the Energy Fuels Resources application for a Special Use Permit to construct and operate the Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in Montrose County. I am, and have been a part-time resident of northern San Miguel County, five miles from the Montrose County line and 35 miles from the proposed mill site for over 20 years.
I’m a retired nuclear industry professional with a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from Stanford University and 49 years of experience in siting, licensing, and safe operation of nuclear facilities around the world. I fully understand the rigorous regulatory process that the Piñon Ridge facility will undergo. I have personally reviewed the Special Use Permit application for the uranium mill and find the application complete and in accordance with the Special Use Review Criteria. I strongly encourage your approval of this application as the first step toward construction and operation of this facility.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has the authority and responsibility to review the facility for a Radioactive Source License under an agreement with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. CDPHE is the licensing authority for uranium mills in Colorado. In addition to this Special Use Permit, there will be 19 other permits and government agency requirements that must be met before mill operation begins.
This facility will process mined uranium ore for potential use in nuclear energy plants that produce electricity and for production of critical radioisotopes for use in various medical applications. In addition, rigorous regulatory requirements and procedures will be imposed by CDPHE in the ongoing operation of the plant including control of environmental releases, frequent inspections and mitigation processes for corrective action if needed.
Opponents to this facility have expressed unfounded concerns about uncontrolled release of harmful radiation. Over 50 years of successful operations of commercial nuclear facilities in the U.S. has proven these concerns to be invalid and unfounded.
The Piñon Ridge uranium mill, a $180 million dollar facility with 285 direct and indirect new jobs, will prove to be a valuable economic asset to Montrose County. This facility will make an important contribution to the uranium industry on the Colorado Plateau and to the continuing application of nuclear energy in America. Nuclear energy as a safe, environmentally beneficial and economic resource, is our only hope in achieving our nation’s energy independence from fossil fuels.
– Ed Fuller, Past President of the American Nuclear Society, Placerville