While reading the piece on mining rules and the push to open uranium mining along the Dolores River (Herald, May 30), we were struck by the comment of Stuart Sanderson, spokesman for the Colorado Mining Association, that "Uranium mining is relatively benign."
Colorado and its many mountain communities have suffered from the "benign" practices of mining before. Aside form the obvious concern about mining near the beautiful gold-medal fishing of the Dolores, here are a few other facts to consider:
Uranium mining, using various technologies, produces massive amounts of polluted water, which is pumped out of the mine site and usually ends up in groundwater; the process produces radon gas from tailings (if any) and sulfuric acid, which is used as a leaching liquid. Trace amounts of radioactivity end up in rock from the milling process, which then is dumped at or near the mill site. This is hardly benign.
We urge people to participate in the rules-making process and pay careful attention to ensure that we are protected adequately from such "benign" practices. Our future health and the viability of the Dolores River are at stake.
Doug and Jan Parker,