Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Take precautions to protect water quality

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Dec. 13, 2012 at 6:13 a.m.
Updated Dec. 14, 2012 at 6:14 a.m.

The battle over uranium mining by Uranium Energy Corp. in Goliad County has been making headlines for almost seven years.

After all this time, as well as $700,000 and countless hours spent working to hold back the company's efforts to gather the necessary permits and permission to begin mining, the Environmental Protection Agency has given UEC the last piece of the puzzle they needed to begin operations.

Now that the EPA has awarded an aquifer exemption permit for UEC, the Corpus Christi-based company can begin preparations for in situ mining in the county. Meanwhile, the opponents of the uranium mining must find another way to combat the company in the courts.

This has been a long, hard fight, and we applaud the efforts put in by the Goliad County Groundwater Conservation District, county leaders and others who worked together through the proper legal channels to fight the uranium mining and protect the integrity of their groundwater. Things didn't go how they wanted, but they gave their all and put up an admirable fight.

But the reality is, UEC has the permission they need to move forward, and other than researching and searching for new ways to stand against the mining, Goliad County officials must take precautions to make sure their water is monitored and protected.

We recognize that open pit mining, the method used in Karnes County, is different from the in situ method planned for Goliad. The in situ method is considered to be much safer with a minimal environmental impact. We believe this will be a safe, effective method as long as all the proper procedures and safeguards are followed.

However, there is always the possibility that something may go wrong, no matter how safe the method is considered. We think Goliad County officials, who have already begun plans to continue testing the waters of the Evangeline Aquifer - the source of drinking water for the county - for any signs of contamination, are doing the right thing.

Water is one of the most precious resources we have, while our economy and way of life depend upon an abundant supply of energy. Energy independence and clean water do not have to be mutually exclusive. We encourage both Goliad County and UEC to keep the best interests of residents in mind as mining begins.

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



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