Monday, June 29, 2009

Opinions Split on Uranium Lawsuit

Goliad has been on our radar for the past several months as there are myriad instances of severe well-water contamination caused by drilling for uranium, much like what's happening in the vicinity of Coles Hill. Our friend Mark Krueger has kept us informed re: the developments in Goliad and has sent several videos that we've posted upon receipt. The link to the Victoria Advocate (below the article) has been unstable over the past several hours so we're fortunate to have the article here.


Originally published June 28, 2009 at 2:54 p.m.

Open bore holes blamed

Of the more than 900 bore holes drilled in northern Goliad County, 136 of them were left open longer than 48 hours, which is a violation, said Jim Blackburn, Goliad County's environmental attorney.

Goliad ...

Of the more than 900 bore holes drilled in northern Goliad County, 136 of them were left open longer than 48 hours, which is a violation, said Jim Blackburn, Goliad County's environmental attorney.

Goliad County contends the open bore holes allowed rainwater to cause contamination to the subsurface, also known as illegal injection, Blackburn said.

Blackburn said the county would take another month or so to decide if they will re-file the case in state court.

GOLIAD - Goliad County commissioners presented their case against Uranium Energy Corp. to the public on Saturday.

County residents attended so that they could become more informed and offer input on whether the county should re-file its legal case in state court.

The county sued the uranium company in March 2008. The lawsuit contends the company failed to cap exploratory bore holes, which they county says contaminated the water supply.

A federal judge dismissed the case a few weeks ago. Now, commissioners are debating whether they should re-file the case in state court.

"We're going to have this public meeting before we come up with a solution," said Goliad County Commissioner Jim Krenek.

Some residents who attended supported re-filing the lawsuit, while others opposed the costly move and think uranium mining should continue unimpeded.

Brad Moore, a uranium company exploration and land manager, said the county should avoid spending money on the case.

"It's really amazing that the citizens of Goliad County who support the opposition are supporting the expenditure of their funds to fight their own rights," Moore said. "The federal judge dismissed the groundwater suit, and they want to continue to spend money."

Sherilyn Arnecke, a Goliad landowner, supports the mining. Her family has been in the area for eight generations.

Mining will bring more jobs and pump more money into the county, Arnecke said.

"I just heard yesterday that in the next 20 years, they're going to build 100 more nuclear power plants in the United States," Arnecke said. "This is concerning the climate bill that's before Congress right now. And where is this uranium going to come from?"

All the money the county would spend on the re-filing in state court would cause financial neglect for the rest of the county, Arnecke said.

"They're fighting for one little part of the county," she said. "And what about the rest of the county that's being totally ignored? They're putting half a million dollars into one, little-bitty area of Goliad County, but then you have all these citizens in other parts of Goliad that are going to suffer. (The county) needs to spend their money on something Goliad County needs."

County Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said the contaminated water was not caused by the open bore holes, but is naturally occurring.

"Muddy water there was supposedly clogged by uranium mining. It just happened to happen when those guys were out doing their drilling," he said. "It's basically one of the reasons federal judge threw the lawsuit out."

The county should negotiate with the company on a cleaning agreement, because the Uranium Energy Corp. is going to mine anyway, Rodriguez said.

"These people are here to stay," Rodriguez said. "We should work with them and put sanctions in place so they can put money in a savings account. That way if they contaminate it, they're responsible to clean it."

On the other hand, other residents oppose mining and support the lawsuit.

Susan Orr's home in Ander is near the proposed mining site.

"I live out there," Orr said. "I don't want it in my backyard. There's too many environmental issues that could come up over the years."

Contaminated water would cause Orr to lose her cattle, she said.

"I don't want to see my property value go down. We have cattle. I don't want to have to end up getting rid of our livestock because of issues of water."

Water is precious and cannot be contaminated," said Julie Fritz, a Goliad county resident.

"Water is water. It's all our water," Fritz said. "It affects everybody in the county, and in other places. Victoria should care."

Krenek agreed. He is unsure what the county will do without water.

"My position has been opposed to the uranium mining since the very first day I heard about it," Krenek said. "It has everything to do with our drinking water. Without drinking water, what do you do? Would you have to import it?"

No comments: