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Hearing on Goliad uranium mining to begin

By JJ VELASQUEZ
May 2, 2010 at 12:02 a.m.


IF YOU GO

WHAT: State contested case hearing on Uranium Energy Corp.'s draft permit to mine uranium in Goliad County

WHERE: William P. Clements Building, 300 W. 15th St., Austin

WHEN: Monday through Friday, starting at 9 a.m.

GOLIAD - Goliad County's legal fight against uranium mining comes to a head Monday in a state-contested case hearing.

In September, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality completed draft permits that would allow the energy company to build two wells. It would mine from the wells uranium-rich deposits from the aquifers in north Goliad County.

Goliad County claims the Uranium Energy Corp. contaminated its drinking water when it failed to properly plug many of its 1,100 exploratory wells.

The county also claims that issuing the company a permit to mine would violate the Texas Administrative Procedure Act, Jim Blackburn, the county's environmental lawyer, said.

"We don't think a permit can be legally issued because the applicant does not meet the rules," Blackburn said.

The hearing entails cross-examinations conducted by both parties, including TCEQ, Uranium Energy Corp. and Goliad County. Pre-trial written testimonies will inform each team's cross-examinations.

After the cross-examinations are complete, the Uranium Energy Corp. may offer a rebuttal. Goliad County is scheduled to rebut the following Monday.

The judge will then decide to recommend that the permit be accepted or denied. The TCEQ will then act with the judge's decision in mind but does not need to follow the recommendation.

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