(Neb)-EPA Shelves In-Situ Reclamation And Monitoring Rule
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - The federal Environmental Protection Agency has withdrawn plans to require groundwater at former in-situ uranium mines to be restored to conditions similar to those that existed before mining began and to monitor closed wells for 30 years.
The agency plans to submit a revised version for further consideration in President-elect Donald Trump's administration. The EPA held hearings on the proposed rule in Chadron in April 2015.
In-situ leach mining pumps a chemical solution similar to bicarbonate of soda into the groundwater where it frees molecules of uranium and other metals from the soil so they can be pumped out with the water and removed through processing.
Cameco Resources uses in-situ at its Crow Butte Mine near Crawford and at its operations in Wyoming, which is the top uranium-producing state in the nation and has 5 active in-situ mines. The state's 2 U-S Senators, Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, praised the EPA move.
Industry advocates say in-situ uranium mining hasn't contaminated groundwater used for drinking, while environmentalists contend the mining companies have yet to show they can fully clean up groundwater at a former in-situ mine.
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