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Judicial Reveiw Order Denying CDPHE License

Judicial Reveiw Order Denying CDPHE License

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Judicial order suspending radioactive materials license issued to Energy Fuels for the Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in Paradox Valley, Colorado
Judicial order suspending radioactive materials license issued to Energy Fuels for the Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in Paradox Valley, Colorado

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Published by: Information Network for Responsible Mining on Jun 14, 2012
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 1
 DISTRICT COURTCITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER1437 Bannock StreetDenver, CO 80202
Plaintiff 
: Sheep Mountain Alliance;and
Plaintiff-Intervenors
: Town of Telluride, Colorado;Town of Ophir, Coloradov.
Defendant
: Colorado Department of Public Healthand Environment; Jennifer Opila, in her officialcapacity as the person issuing a license on behalf of the Colorado Department of Public Health andEnvironment;and
Indispensible Party
: Energy Fuels Resources
COURT USE ONLY
 Case Number: 2011CV861Division/Courtroom: 203
JUDICIAL REVIEW ORDER
THIS MATTER comes before the court on plainti

Materials License No. 1170
 
01, Amended Number: 00 (

the Pinon Ridge Uranium Mill in Montrose County, Colorado.Jurisdiction1.

ding to seek judicialreview under the Colorado Administrative Procedures Act, C.R.S. §24-4-101 et seq.

Section 24-4-106(1). See Declaration of Hilary White, Exhibit 3 to

Brief.2. To the extent not already determined by November 7, 2011 order granting plaintiff-

 
 2

have standing aspersons adversely affected by the issuance of the License. See Declarations of Telluride Mayor, Stuart Fraser, and Ophir Mayor, Todd Rutledge, Exhibits 1 and 2 toMotion to Intervene.3. Judicial review is available only to review final agency actions. Section 24-4-106(2).While the parties dispute whether the final agency action was the January 5, 2011approval and granting of a license as claimed by plaintiff and the Towns, or the March7, 2011 issuance of a corrected final license as asserted by CDPHE and Energy Fuels,it is undisputed that plaintiff seeks review of a final agency action.Introduction4. This judicial review involves consideration of the interrelationship among federal andstate statutes and regulations, and their application to an exceptionally extensiveadministrative record. This combination has given rise to numerous issues andarguments by the four parties. The court has considered all of the arguments in thebriefs as well as relevant portions of the record and has attempted to address all

been addressed, it is because the court has determined that it is not material or issubsumed in other arguments.5.

address all claims and are similar.6. Since major issues on this review involve compliance with statutes and regulationswithin required time frames, the court believes that it would be helpful to first present ageneral factual background, then the legal framework which, among other things,includes procedural requirements and time frames, and lastly a chronology of eventsincorporating statutory requirements and timeframes.Factual Background7.

particularly the Decision Analysis and Environmental Impact Analysis, Energy Fuels
 
 3

-AR 000001-000432, shows thatthe licensing decision was the product of an enormous undertaking. Prior to submittingits application in November, 2009, Energy Fuels worked with CDPHE for approximately

Fuels then submitted a 15 volume license Application to CDPHE on November 18,2009. Approval of the Application and final issuance of the License occurred in Januaryand March of 2011, although the actual issuance date is disputed.8. The licensing process involved a large number of engineering and environmentalscience professionals generating, reviewing, and evaluating thousands of pages of technical, engineering and environmental material. These included materials submittedby the public, including plaintiff, the Towns and other local government entities.Substantial public comment was received through two statutory public meetings andfive additional public meetings. The administrative record slightly exceeds 70,000pages
.
9. The record also shows that the magnitude of the licensing task was fully warranted inlight of the potential health, safety and environmental risks posed by the operation of auranium mill.Legal Framework10. Both federal and state law govern the licensing and regulation of facilities handling andprocessing radioactive materials, including uranium. Evolution of the process by whichfederal agencies have transferred regulatory authority in this area to states is set forthin several of the briefs. While helpful background, it need not be repeated here.11. Particularly relevant to this judicial review is the allocation of that authority as set forthin the ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES ATOMICENERGY COMMISSION AND THE STATE OF COLORADO FOR DISCONTINUANCEOF CERTAIN COMMISSION REGULATORY AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITYWITHIN THE STATE PURSUANT TO SECTION 274 OF THE ATOMIC ENERGY ACTOF 1954, AS AMENDED, and the 1982 AMENDMENT to that AGREEMENT (referred

provides that, subject to certain exceptions, the Atomic Energy Commission (now theNuclear Regu


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