Thursday, September 19, 2019

NRDC calls for stricter oversight of ISL uranium mining

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) praised the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed standards relating to in-situ leach (ISL) uranium mining in comments submitted to the agency on Wednesday, but also called for stricter measures to be added.

“The proposal sets standards for establishing baseline water quality before mining, for the restoration of the aquifers and for post-restoration monitoring for pollution,” NRDC Senior Attorney Geoffrey Fettus said. “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.’’

ISL mining has been gaining popularity in the field and dissolves uranium deposits via fluid injection. The process, however, contaminates the aquifers it operates in with uranium and other heavy metals, leading to concerns about its environmental impact.

The EPA’s proposed rules, which would set standards for the process, were first released in January and have been open to public comment since then. The NRDC’s submissions were given as the comment period draws to a close.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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