The Battle Over a Uranium Mill for Montrose County

October 1 2009, 11:20 AM

Despite opposition and protests, Montrose County commissioners unanimously cleared the path for a uranium mill to begin operations in Paradox Valley. The mill is of particular concern to ranchers and organic farmers, who fear operations will negatively impact their businesses, but proponents argue the Pinon Ridge mill will bring more jobs to the recession-struck county, writes the Telluride Watch. The approval of the mill for Canadian company Energy Fuels, writes The Colorado Independent, was as much an "endorsement of American energy independence as it was a repudiation of environmental concerns." Ron Henderson told a crowd at Friendship Hall that his vote was motivated by 9/11 and a desire to help wean America off imported fossil fuels. "To me that's a sign that we need to go ahead and stand strong, move forward, and be firm and not allow all of our money to go to people that don't like us. If they don't like us, I think it's fine, but I would just really rather they stay where they are." Travis Stills, managing attorney for the Durango-based Energy Minerals Law Center in Durango, criticized officials for restricting environmental opponents to three minutes of public input during two prior meetings in Nucla and Montrose. No public input was taken before the vote.