Does UEC meet responsibility standards?
Harry Anthony's guest column in support of in-situ uranium mining brings to mind memories of Goldilocks, Snow White and other fairy tales.
In his reference to the review by a state appointed administrative law judge, he conveniently failed to mention that the board of bureaucrats making up the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality ignored the recommendations of the appointed judge and rendered a long typewritten decision obviously prepared before the hearing where affected parties were to have been heard.
The chairman even made fun of the administrative law judge by commenting that the judge did not understand the questions.
On two public occasions, Anthony has declined to taste water taken from wells adjacent to Uranium Energy Corporation test sites. His few supporters in Goliad County, some of whom have received money from UEC, were provided bottled water in at least one public meeting.
Harry Anthony tells us that water in the uranium mining zone does not meet minimum federal water quality standards. What he neglects to mention is that water samples used in the permit application were taken after the test wells were activated. He also neglects to mention that water samples taken early in the exploration phase from wells inside the permit area and around the permit area show the water to be of drinking water quality. The monitoring of UEC activities by the TCEQ and the Texas Railroad Commission has been inadequate, too little and too late.
Despite UEC's claim of plans for extensive and thorough restoration of all production areas, there is no guarantee of this occurring or of adequate reimbursement of those who would be affected by massive contamination. Previous restoration attempts have required that the TCEQ had to issue relaxed standards because the original baseline water quality levels could not be achieved.
To add insult of our intelligence, he identifies our concerned citizens as hysterical while in the same article trying to identify himself and his UEC as good neighbors and contributors. Some neighbors, some contributors.
Like snake oil salesman, the UEC beats the drums of nuclear energy and its benefits to the United States. Ask them, if you will, to answer the questions about distribution of uranium on the world market and the nationality of their stockholders.
Also, ask Anthony about the safety of nuclear power plants when a natural disaster occurs. All in all, Anthony and his cohorts have promoted their project for their financial benefit and without full disclosure. The environmental concerns of hundreds of Goliad County residents have not been adequately addressed by UEC.
A confined aquifer can be seen as a swimming pool. Pour a contaminant into the pool, and the more the contaminant is disturbed, the more it spreads. Contamination is not the only concern.
The proposed process will contaminate and require disposal of millions of gallons of water now being used for agriculture, wildlife, residential and commercial purposes.
These concerns are not just applicable to Goliad County but to the adjacent counties which share the same aquifer.
All should insist on ironclad guarantees backed by enforceable penalties.
The recent nuclear disaster in Japan points out the absolute necessity for evaluating the honesty and the capability of those to whom we entrust nuclear responsibility at any or all levels.
Ask yourself if UEC meets these standards.
John W. Caldwell is a Lt. Col., U.S. Air Force (retired) who resides in Goliad.