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Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill lawsuit filed against CDPHE, May 24, 2013.

Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill lawsuit filed against CDPHE, May 24, 2013.

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Sheep Mountain Alliance and Rocky Mountain Wild filed a complaint against Colorado Department of Health & Public Environment and Energy Fuels Inc. to overturn the state license for the proposed Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in Paradox Valley, western Colorado.
Sheep Mountain Alliance and Rocky Mountain Wild filed a complaint against Colorado Department of Health & Public Environment and Energy Fuels Inc. to overturn the state license for the proposed Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in Paradox Valley, western Colorado.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Information Network for Responsible Mining on Jun 05, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/05/2013

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DISTRICT COURT, CITY AND COUNTY OFDENVER, COLORADO
Court Address:2
nd 
Judicial District
Denver City & County Building
 1437 Bannock Street, Room 256Denver, Colorado 80202Phone Number: (720) 865-8301
PLAINTIFFS
: Sheep Mountain Alliance, Rocky MountainWild;v.
DEFENDANTS
: Colorado Department of Public Healthand Environment (“CDPHE”), Jennifer Opila, in her officialcapacity; CDPHE Executive Director Dr. Christopher Urbina, in his official capacity;and,
INDISPENSABLE PARTY
: Energy Fuels ResourcesCorporation
ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFFS
:Attorneys: Travis Stills, #27509Energy Minerals Law Center Address: 1911 Main Avenue, Suite 238Durango, Colorado 81301Phone Number: (970)375-9231Fax Number: (970)382-0316Email: stills@frontier.netAttorneys: Jeffrey C. Parsons, #30210Roger Flynn, #21078Western Mining Action ProjectAddress: P.O. Box 349, Lyons, CO 80540Phone Number: (303) 823-5738Fax Number: (303) 823-5732Email: wmap@igc.orgAttorneys: Matthew Sandler #37921Rocky Mountain Wild Address 536 Wynkoop St., Suite 303Denver, CO 80202Phone: 303-546-0214 ext. 1Fax: 303-454-3366Email: matt@rockymountainwild.orgCase Number: 2013CV______ Courtroom: _________ 
COMPLAINT
 
2Plaintiffs, Sheep Mountain Alliance and Rocky Mountain Wild (Plaintiffs), by and through their undersigned legal counsel, hereby state and aver the following as its Complaint for relief againstthe Defendants, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (“CDPHE”), and Executive Director Dr. Christopher Urbina, and Jennifer Opila, acting in her official capacity on behalf of CDPHE.1.
 
This lawsuit seeks judicial review and invalidation of CDPHE’s issuance of Radioactive Materials License No. Colo. 1170-01, Amendment Number: 02, Global Revision 3(“License”) to Energy Fuels Resources Corporation (“Energy Fuels”) on April 25, 2013.2.
 
Copies of the License and accompanying materials were served on Sheep MountainAlliance by CDPHE Public Affairs Officer Mr. Warren Smith mailing a DVD on or about May 2,2013. Copies of the License were not served on Rocky Mountain Wild.3.
 
The License, issued with conditions, allows Energy Fuels to transfer, receive, possess, and use radioactive materials at a uranium mill in the Paradox Valley of westernColorado. The License allows Energy Fuels to construct and operate a uranium mill and an“11e(2) byproduct” waste disposal cell for the permanent impoundment of the uranium milltailings and the eventual interment of the radioactive remains of the mill itself.4.
 
It has been nearly thirty years since a similar license was issued in Colorado for thecontinued operation of the Cotter Mill in Cañon City, Colorado. After milling Colorado-mined ore at the Cotter Mill proved economically infeasible, the operations switched to processing of uranium-bearing wastes from various industrial and government sources. The Cotter Mill has been demolished and is now undergoing remediation and closure proceedings pursuant torequirements of the federal Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act (“UMTRCA”) and Superfund.5.
 
Many of the other valleys in western Colorado, including the San Miguel River corridor near Nucla and Naturita, have been contaminated by uranium milling and the permanentinternment of uranium tailings. Historically, uranium milling has never been carried out in theParadox Valley. The Paradox Valley is an area of Montrose County known for its agriculturalcharacteristics, abundant wildlife, and recreational opportunities.6.
 
The regional economy has managed to endure several disruptive and unsustainable boom/bust cycles that characterize the uranium industry. Uranium mills provide hazardous and intermittent employment based on widely fluctuating international commodity markets.7.
 
On information and belief, Energy Fuels has not obtained financing to design or construct the Piñon Ridge Mill (“PR Mill”). Publicly available statements by Energy Fuelsindicate that a South Korean electrical utility recently became a dominant shareholder in EnergyFuels through a complex 2012 transaction with Denison Mines, a Canadian Corporation. In2012, Energy Fuels became the owner of the White Mesa uranium mill near Blanding, Utah. In2012, Energy Fuels announced it will halt all mining of Colorado Plateau ores due to therelatively high cost of processing Colorado Plateau ores. A substantial portion of Energy Fuels’
 
3 business activities now involves shipment of uranium-bearing wastes to White Mesa as analternative to disposal in a licensed low-level radioactive waste facility.8.
 
On information and belief, Energy Fuels does not plan to start construction of the PR Mill in 2013. On information and belief, Energy Fuels has not obtained all necessary state and federal approvals for the PR Mill.9.
 
This lawsuit is brought to invalidate the License and Environmental Impact Analysis(“EIA”), both of which were issued without compliance with the substantive and proceduralrequirements of the Colorado Radiation Control Act (“RCA”), C.R.S. § 25-11-101,
et seq
., and the federal Atomic Energy Act (“AEA”) and UMTRCA, 42 U.S.C. § 2011,
et seq
., which areimplemented within the State of Colorado by CDPHE. These requirements are designed toensure the decisionmaking process is open to informed public involvement and subjected torigorous procedural requirements of a formal adjudication and initial decision by anadministrative law judge, subject to an appeal by right to the Executive Director, before CDPHEmay issue a radioactive materials license for purposes of uranium milling and maintaining theradioactive tailings until the property is deeded to the government for perpetual care.10.
 
Persons living in the Paradox Valley have repeatedly expressed their opposition and concern about constructing a uranium mill in the Paradox Valley, including the owner of thenow-closed Bedrock Store and owner of the relatively new Paradox Valley Inn. Neither CDPHEnor Energy Fuels conducted a detailed analysis of the benefits of siting the PR Mill and tailingsdisposal in an already-contaminated area as an alternative to the Paradox Valley.11.
 
The material issues raised by Plaintiffs were not resolved by the administrative law judge during the License Hearing mandated by the Judicial Review Order setting aside the previously issued license and remanding for CDPHE to provide a license hearing that conformswith Colorado law, including the rights of parties under the Administrative Procedure Act.
Sheep Mountain Alliance v. CDPHE 
, 2011CV861, Judicial Review Order, at ¶¶32-35 (remanding for compliance with,
inter alia
, C.R.S § 24-4-105).12.
 
Plaintiffs raised material issues early in the proceeding, including lack of water supply, waste containment and exposure pathways, toxicity and management of mill wastes,supply, on and off-site pollution, air emissions, socioeconomics, wildlife, federally protected species, due process/procedure, and the failure of CDPHE and Energy Fuels to meet the statutory burdens meant to avoid repetition of the notorious impacts caused by the ongoing failure of uranium mill tailings impoundments throughout Colorado. Similar issues were raised throughwritten and oral public comments by persons living in and near the Paradox Valley and by thosewho farm, hunt, hike, climb, bike, visit, and otherwise enjoy the Paradox Valley.13.
 
Plaintiffs substantiated its issues at the seven day hearing with expert witnesstestimony of Connie Travers, Dr. Ann Maste, Dr. Tom Power, cross examination, and documentary evidence.
See
Exh. 1 Sheep Mountain Proposed Findings of Fact and Determinations of Law, Exh. 2. Wildlife Coalition Proposed Findings of Fact and Determinations of Law.

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