By Renny MacKay
Laramie, Wyo. – A group of concerned citizens is upset with the timing of a rare meeting between the public, regulators and uranium mining companies. It is set for Friday night in Sundance. The topic is in-situ mining also known as ISL. It is a process of getting uranium out of the ground by injecting water into the earth.
There are more than 15 proposed in-situ mines in Wyoming right now. But, the group Ranchers and Neighbors Protecting Our Water is opposing the mines, saying more research needs to be done before the state and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission allow these to go forward. Jim Jones is one of its founders. "Our concern is really with the water and the process of ISL consumes large quantities of water and they tend to leave the aquifers contaminated after they're completed," he said.
In some cases the groundwater isn't drinkable even before the mining. And there are cases of uranium particles leaving a former in-situ mine site and moving into an aquifer used for drinking water.
Jones says he is worried that because the meeting to discuss these concerns is right before a long weekend, very few people will turn out.