Decision worries anti-waste group

A decision by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to encourage Eastern Slope communities to accept low-level radioactive waste has the attention of a Craig group already opposing a proposed site in Moffat County.

Terrie Barrie, chairwoman of Northwest Colorado Cares, said the move could make it easier for local real estate agent Jim Ross to collect low-level radioactive waste in pits in his property that were originally dug to mine uranium.

"That's kind of scary for up here," she said. "It's very upsetting."

Most concerning, Barrie said, is that the state is ignoring input from residents and locally elected officials in some areas. Adams County commissioners denied the designation of a waste facility within his boarders, but CDPHE ignored the vote and is moving forward

"In other words, the community doesn't even have a say," Barrie said.

Her group has been operating under the premise that Moffat County commissioners could stop Ross.

Now, the group will be expanding its efforts.

What that will be still hinges on Ross, Barrie said. Members of Northwest Colorado Cares are trying to meet with Ross to gauge his progress and plans.

"At this point, we can't do anything until he files for his permit," she said.

Ross has said that he's still collecting data on his pits and their mining history and is at least three years from collecting anything.

Barrie said the group is concerned that they don't know what kind of radioactive waste Ross will accept.

She claims he has even changed from saying he would accept tailings -- rock and soil left over from the mining of uranium -- to saying he would be moving "spoil piles" -- the over burden in a uranium mine.

"Low-level waste is still very dangerous," she said. "it's based on the amount of radiation. They call it low-level, but it's still pretty hot."

The group's next meeting will be at noon July 15 at the Golden Cavvy.

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