Goliad residents appeal EPA ruling on uranium mining
July 30, 2013 at 2:30 a.m.
Updated July 31, 2013 at 2:31 a.m.
The battle over uranium mining in Goliad County is set to continue as residents join an appeal against the ruling by the Environment Protection Agency to allow mining in the county.
The petition, filed Monday in the 5th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, argues the EPA's ruling to grant an aquifer exemption to Uranium Energy Corp. was politically motivated.
"The EPA was arbitrary and capricious in issuing this exemption. ... We are basically arguing the evidence shows headquarters interfered with the science deliberations of the EPA. And we think that is illegal," said attorney Jim Blackburn of Blackburn & Carter.
Matt Welch, spokesman for UEC, said the claims are unfounded.
"As an environmental activist lawyer who sues people for a living, Mr. Blackburn has a long history of making outrageous claims, and this appeal is just the latest in a long line. The case was decided on its science and merit, consistent with the EPA nationwide guidance governing the approval of aquifer exemptions," Welch said in an email.
The EPA was not able to comment on the case, said spokesman Austin Vela, because it is in litigation.
Goliad County is a party in a district case against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, also argued by Blackburn, said County Judge David Bowman.
The county is not a participant in the petition against the EPA, however, only private residents, Bowman said.
Blackburn said the district suit is against a TCEQ commissioner's ruling on the effect of uranium mining on water quality.