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E-M:/ Alert on public's right to speak out on uranium mining siting issues



Michigan is looking closely at the possibility of environmentally-devastating metallic sulfide mining in the U.P. - and Cameco, the world's largest uranium mining company, in partnership with Bitterroot, is actively seeking to mine uranium in Michigan. It is my understanding that there are no Michigan rules and regulations specifically dealing with uranium mining, (by any mining method.) This proposed generic environmental impact statement (GEIS) for uranium mines would bar the public from raising site-specific environmental issues.  Note wording from the Federal Register notice of GEIS, July 24, 2007, (emphasis mine) "The GEIS will assess the potential environmental impacts associated with uranium recovery at milling facilities employing the in-situ leach (ISL) process. The GEIS may also assess the potential environmental impacts of alternative methods of uranium recovery (including the conventional milling process)."

I'm not aware of any in situ leach uranium mining in Michigan's history, however, no one knows the future.

This is short notice; however, organizations concerned about keeping our waters healthy may wish to remind the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that Michigan citizens want the right to speak out on any future uranium mines and siting issues.
Please note they are accepting comments only through Tuesday, September 4th. If you send comments, consider requesting a 30-60 days extension of comment time. - Kay Cumbow

Edited with permission, this alert comes from the New Mexico Environmental Law Center www.nmenvirolaw.org/
To read the full alert, go to: www.nmenvirolaw.org/news/index.htm

ACTION ALERT -- Dangerous uranium mining ... is about to become much easier, unless we all act fast!
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is [in] the process of drafting and issuing a generic environmental impact statement (GEIS) on in situ leach uranium mining. If adopted, the GEIS will remove the current environmental inquiries required for each specific proposed mining site, restrict public comment on future uranium mining licenses and undermine environmental justice...

 ...If the NRC is allowed to finalize the GEIS, it will:
allow uranium mining companies to avoid site specific environmental analysis in the form of a site specific environmental impact statement;
increase the speed at which the NRC issues nuclear licenses to ISL mining companies; and
severely restrict the amount of public input on a specific mining project.
As the price of uranium continues to rise, ... more corporations are trying to get in on ... profits by applying for licenses ... for in situ mining, [which is] the most common form of uranium mining in the U.S..  In situ mining requires the injection of chemicals into the ground that destabilize radioactive and other toxic minerals, which then leach into and ruin our drinking water. Once our aquifers are poisoned with uranium and other toxic heavy metals, they will never be clean again.
We must all act now!  
Tell the NRC that there should be no GENERIC environmental impact statement on uranium mining.  Comments are due by September 4, 2007.
         For Sample language to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), go to www.nmenvirolaw.org/news/index.htm and scroll down. Please feel free to use this [sample] letter as a template for your comments to the NRC, and include your name and address when corresponding with the Agency. [May send comments by mail or email below]

        Please mail to the address below, or email to nrcrep@nrc.gov (subject line: URANIUM RECOVERY GEIS) by September 4, 2007.   Chief, Rules, Review and Directives Branch, Mail Stop T-6D59, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington , D.C.20555-0001

More information on this issue also can be found at EarthWorks. Click on: http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizations/earthworks/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=12446