Advocate editorial board opinion: TCEQ decision hard to take, but agency had its reasons

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Dec. 24, 2010 at 6:24 a.m.
Updated Dec. 25, 2010 at 6:25 a.m.

The struggle by Goliad residents against uranium mining in their county was and can remain valiant. But the state agency that allowed the permit - the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality - is in place because of us, the people of Texas.

As we have seen and learned, the uranium mining industry is one of the most regulated in the country. There are many safeguards and regulations to which these companies have to adhere. We live in a region that has been economically supported by regulated drilling, mining and production.

While we contend that we must have faith in our state government and its agencies because we elected our leaders to run our state efficiently, we recognize that no agency is perfect. In fact, the TCEQ already has undergone changes in the past (previously known as the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission). And it is very possible that the agency could be revamped again through the sunset commission, which made the agency shorten its name in the past to better reflect its duties.

We do question why the TCEQ would take a risk with people's drinking water after an administrative law judge denied the permit. Still, after all is said, done and reviewed, we must rely on the TCEQ's decision to grant a permit to Uranium Energy Corporation, the uranium mining company that applied for the permit to mine in Goliad County. The science appears to be there to back up the mining operation.

While we say this, we urge those same Goliad residents who have led the charge against the mining operation not to let up. We urge you to monitor these operations, keep abreast of the regulations and continue collecting data on your water.

This issue can be emotional, and it's not always easy to understand a decision such as TCEQ's, which was based on complex scientific data. But we must try.

If Goliad residents aren't convinced, they should continue to push the issue.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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