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By Earth First! Grand Junction & The Red Pill

Over the weekend of July 9th and 10th a short-bus full of activists associated with Confluence Media Collective, and Grand Junction Earth First!, unearthed five dump truckloads of illegally buried toxic waste in a pristine meadow, just yards from the Larime River. The US Forest Service is now investigating the situation, and has pledged to clean up the waste.

Last summer and fall, Doug Harding, currently of Grand Junction, was working for Eagle Feather Construction, out of Roberts, Idaho, when he was ordered by project manager to dig the pits and bury the waste. “I was told to make it look like we were never there,” said Harding.

“I knew when I did it, it was wrong, but I needed a job,” said Harding, “but I’m out here today to set things right.”

The waste stems from a $555,071 federal contract from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, to replace outhouses at four campgrounds in both the Roosevelt and Arapahoe National Forests. The Forest Service now admits that the waste from the popular, Tunnel Campground, was instead dumped nearby in a meadow.

Eagle Feather Construction and its sister company Peace Pipe Construction specialize in Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management contracts around the country. Eagle Feather Construction is right now re-building the outhouses at Kelly Dahl Campground near Denver.

“If there were more people like Doug Harding in this world, willing to stand up and do the right thing. We would live in a better society and have a healthier environment,” said GJ Earth First! activist Ian Lafferty.

Judy Kahl, of Westminster, has camped in the meadow every summer, but this summer she knew something was different. “It was just different,” she said. “ We can’t believe it, that they would have such toxic waste here, damaging our forest.”

Grizz Costello, a local that operates the Tunnel irrigation ditch, told Denver’s Channel 7 News, “I hope they get nailed to the wall.”

Having exposed this story to the world, The Red Pill will continue to make sure that the situation is cleaned up.

Uranium and Me

Posted: August 13, 2010 by grandjunctionearthfirst in uranium

Location of the proposed Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill

“WE SUPPORT THE PIÑON RIDGE URANIUM MILL,” was posted outside the grocery store and just about every other business in Nucla, Colorado last time I visited.

These are a few of the things that I know about uranium mining.

Capitalism. Profits, big profits. Higher quality of life. “My dad has work.” Economic booms. Jobs. Higher population. Less poverty. A stronger community.

Toxicity. Lung cancer. Damaged aquifers. Rivers running red or yellow, not blue, green and brown. Lower quality of life. “My dad has cancer.” Economic busts. Loss of local farms. Loss of life. Loss of earth.

The former list I learned from my hometown of Nucla, Colorado, the latter from my college education and involvement in radical movements. To stand at a town-hall-style hearing and speak out against the destruction of our mother is not an easy task for a former local. They say insanity is trying the same thing over and over while expecting different results. But the community which produced me and my former ideologies is participating in just that. Mine, mill, then move on, jobless and desperate.

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The Coming Uranium Boom

Posted: July 25, 2010 by grandjunctionearthfirst in uranium

By ‘Cobo

I remember a feeling of foreboding and a sense of coming doom as I entered the Uranium Expo held in Grand Junction, Colorado almost five years ago. My name badge had a false name and said that I was an investor. Throughout the expo there were dozens of companies with slick booths and glossy literature. Many of the companies had recently formed and had begun buying mineral rights and old uranium mines throughout the American Southwest. The organizers touted the riches that were sure to come as uranium prices continued to rise. While the uranium mining boom that many speculated would be coming hasn’t quite manifested itself, they continue to push on. From 2004 until today, many mines have opened and closed as the price of uranium fluctuated between $43.50 to $140 per pound. Mines have traded hands. Many have been readied to go into production, but currently sit waiting for higher prices and, more importantly, a mill to process the ore.

Currently, there is only one uranium mill in operation in the entire United States. The mill is owned and run by Denison Mines and is located just outside the small town of Blanding, Utah. The mill has been running at a limited capacity. Until recently, it was mostly processing nuclear waste from the US and Canada, but, at the end of December, Denison Mines started pulling ore out of its Arizona 1 mine, just north of the Grand Canyon. This is the first uranium mining activity in Arizona in more than 20 years. The company plans on reopening as many as five additional mines in the Arizona Strip geological formation – all near the north rim of the Grand Canyon. The Denison mill currently has a monopoly on US produced yellow-cake uranium ore, and is not eager to mill other company’s ore.

This bottleneck in the supply chain has kept the full effects of the ‘Third Uranium Boom’ to a minimal. However, if the mining corporations have their way, this bottleneck will be eliminated and the boom will be on in full force. Opposition to the Nuclear Renaissance needs to take place at the source to keep the ore in the ground, because every step, from mining to milling, to refining, to reactors, to waste storage, is toxic to all living things.

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