Judge recommends TCEQ allow pump test before permits are issued

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

Oct. 1, 2010 at 5:01 a.m.

GOLIAD - A judge has asked for more information in the ongoing struggle between a uranium company and Goliad County residents.

The judge on Thursday recommended the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality allow for the submission of additional data about uranium mining at Goliad's In-Situ Recovery project before the Uranium Energy Corporation moves forward with any mining.

Specifically, the judge has recommended that the UEC conduct a 24-hour pump test at the site, according to a news release. The ruling came after a hearing in May in Austin.

The decision could bring the UEC one step closer to receiving a permit to mine at the Goliad project, but it is also another hurdle to cross, said Jim Kreneck, Goliad County, Precinct 3 commissioner.

"It's a big deal," said Kreneck, who does not agree with the mining. "The burden of proof is going to be on them now."

Attorney Jim Blackburn, who represents Goliad County in the case, said nobody has won and nobody has lost.

"It's a long hard fight. The ball game is not over yet." he said. "The point we are at right now vindicates the concern that Goliad County has."

Harry Anthony, the chief operations officer for UEC, and Mike Sizemore, company spokesman, also did not return calls, Friday.

The news release quoted Anthony as saying he is willing to submit more data.

"We look forward to submitting any additional data that is needed and to completing this phase of the permitting process," he was quoted in the news release. "The company is confident that the permits will be approved at the end of this process."

"That's what we want," Kreneck said. "We want to guarantee that it's not going to harm the aquifer. I want it done safely. I don't want to come up in five years with contaminated water."

In June 2009, the TCEQ's executive director issued draft permits that gave authority to the Uranium Energy Corporation to an install initial wellfield and begin production in Goliad, according to the news release.



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