Goliad citizens to protest TCEQ hearing on uranium drilling
Dec. 11, 2010 at 6:11 a.m.
GOLIAD - A bus full of concerned citizens will travel to the state capitol on Tuesday to protest Uranium Energy Corporation's proposed permit to drill for uranium in the county.
Representatives of the county, the county's groundwater district and private parties affected by the permit will have the chance to plead their cases before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, said Barbara Smith, general manager of the groundwater district.
The rest of the 57-passenger bus will be there to demonstrate the county's opposition to the uranium drilling, she said.
The county has been fighting UEC for nearly five years, said Raulie Irwin, chairman of the Uranium Research Advisory Committee, which was appointed by the county commissioner's court.
Most recently, Administrative Law Judge Richard Wilfong granted a contested hearing to the county in May. In September, the judge recommended UEC be required to do additional testing on the fault area covered by the permit, which is about 13 miles north of the city and nearly a mile east of the intersection of State Highway 183 and Farm-to-Market Road 1961.
"When we were granted the contested case hearing, we filled the hall," Irwin said. "We feel like it makes a big difference when they see people from little Goliad there fighting."
Smith said they took 50 people by bus to that hearing in February.
As of Friday, there were nine seats open on the bus and the UEC permit was first on the TCEQ docket.
The proposal would allow uranium drilling in a 423.8-acre area, according to the docket.
Smith said he's worried that a UEC permit would be a catalyst for more uranium drilling.
"If it's granted, UEC will not be the only company mining in Goliad County," he said. "There are others watching this case and not spending the money to fight it. But if they get a permit, the others will come."