NRDC Applauds EPA’s Proposed Uranium Mining Standards, Seeks Improvements

WASHINGTON (May 27, 2015)--The Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to protect groundwater from the hazards of in-situ leach (ISL) uranium mining is a good first step, but needs significant improvements before it  becomes final, the Natural Resources Defense Council said today in extensive public comments filed with the agency.

The proposed rules, unveiled in January, would set standards for a process known as ISL mining. That involves injecting fluids into western aquifers to dissolve uranium deposits—an increasingly prevalent process that results in significant contamination of those aquifers by uranium and heavy metals.

The following is a statement by NRDC Senior Attorney Geoffrey Fettus:

“It’s great to see draft rules that update inadequate regulations.  The proposal sets standards for establishing baseline water quality before mining, for the restoration of the aquifers and for post-restoration monitoring for pollution.

“But these standards should be further strengthened by applying to each and every ISL mine, imposing strict restoration requirements based on the best-available science, and monitoring rigorously ISL mines that already have been shut down.’’

NRDC’s call for improving the proposed rule came as the public comments period ended.


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