These are the RealVail archived files. Please visit our new site:
MM_XSLTransform error.
Error opening
Telluride has always marched to a different beat, but lately the drums of war have been sounding over a proposed uranium mill in western Montrose County.
Telluride has always marched to a different beat, but lately the drums of war have been sounding over a proposed uranium mill in western Montrose County.
Telluride residents rally against proposed uranium mill in Montrose County

August 26, 2009 — Montrose is to Telluride as Eagle and Gypsum are to Vail and Beaver Creek. Worker-bee bedroom communities for booming resorts, but also surrounded by traditional industries like ranching, farming and mining.

This often leads to a conflict in values like the bitter debate going on in Montrose County over uranium -- a prized product these days given the push to revive the nuclear-power industry as a non-carbon-producing renewable energy source.

The debate over a uranium mill proposed by a Canadian company in the western end of Montrose County has come down to a question of what people would rather have in their back yard: uranium processing, farms and ranches, or multi-million-dollar McMansions fueled by the outdoor recreation and tourism industry?

The Telluride Daily Planet reported that a recent Montrose County commissioner’s hearing on a special use permit for a uranium mill proposed by Energy Fuels became a jobs debate, with longtime mining families touting the potential employment while an army of Audi and Prius drivers from the tony ski resort of Telluride invaded Nucla High School to champion their way of life.

Caught in the middle were farmers and ranchers who fear uranium dust from the Piņon Ridge Mill will seriously curtail the agrarian way of life in the bucolic Paradox Valley.

A sampling of quotes from all sides:

“All the West has mining history. It’s a boom or bust industry. The towns that have survived are the ones that have farmers. Nucla and Naturita would not have survived the mining busts without agriculture.”

– Vernie Demille, owner of Paradise Family Farms CSA in Paradox Valley

“The recreation-based economy is important to Gateway and up and down Highway 141. The proposed mill is in direct conflict with the recreation business because of transportation safety, environmental impact, the numbers of trucks and public perception of the area.”

– John Williams, attorney for the John Hendricks family, owners of Gateway Canyons Resort

“I’m an environmentalist. Uravan and Moab [uranium mining] was a bad idea … but Telluride is a bad idea … They carved up a mountain in the name of recreation … Our dump trucks and our garbage trucks are driving up to Telluride every day. … Up there they say, ‘We don’t want oil and gas mining, but keep that oil and gas coming.’”

– Thomas Kyle of Norwood

But by far the best quote of the night came from mill backer Chris Daniels of Nucla: “I hope you guys have a safe drive home. The deer are not glowing in the dark yet, so we gotta be careful.”

The commissioners did not make a decision on the special use permit, which has already won the nod of approval from the county planning commission. The county commissioners are expected to make a decision at a September meeting.



Comment on article  1 Comment on "Telluride residents rally against proposed uranium mill in Montrose County"


Reid — August 28, 2009

Great comments on all sides, its unfortunate that the farmers and ranchers from the Delores County area are caught in the middle, cause I for one don't think the "Trustafarians" from Telluride have any ground to stand on. Classic case of NIMBY.



Comment Form Info  Comment Information
RealVail encourages you to post comments on our articles and blogs. Name and email are required for monitoring purposes. Your email will not be published and will not be distributed to any 3rd-party. Abusive, obscene, profane, threatening, libelous or defamatory comments are prohibited. By posting a comment, you agree to this policy and our terms of use. To report an abusive posting, please contact us.

Please enter the case insensitive letters you see in the left box to prove that you are human and indeed reading this page. This prevents spam and malicious attacks. Click the refresh icon to refresh words.

To comment or contact us, please visit our new site at Snow Report Ticker

more new stories...

more new stories...

more resort guides...