What can I say? The day grows shaggy. The chair too stiff. And even
public hearing aficionados start to talk trash: So, apologies in
advance to any person of reasonable (or noble, even) character I
besmudge in this week’s review of the uranium mining hearing
down Goliad way.
So let me talk at you a scant blogo-minute to set a couple important
items (in my sincerest impartial moderator tone) straight.
Energy Corp’s record is blemished, despite company
officials’ reassessment of their regulatory history at last
Thursday’s public hearing in Goliad. As it turned out, the
confessions of UEC Director Harry Anthony were more telling than any
possible denial he could offer.
See, the company had only just started making its mark on Goliad terra
firm with a few hundred boreholes proudly littering the landscape when
the Texas Railroad Commission showed up.
Responding to complaints
by Goliad County residents and a letter from Blackburn, the Railroad
Commission found that the company had not plugged the majority of its
hundreds of boreholes as they had told state regulators.
GPS coordinates supplied by UEC didn’t lead to any holes,
either, confusing inspectors. “The holes that were located
were found because there was some surface indication of the borehole
location, not because they were at the exact coordinates
provided,” the inspection report reads.
“Surface indication” turned out to mean piles of
radioactive tailings, drilling fluids, and soils left exposed on the
open ground. Of the 117 boreholes checked, only 14 had been plugged
– and these were either plugged too deep or too close to the
surface to protect groundwater supplies.
Gamma-radiation survey results didn’t surprise the
RRC’s surface-mining director. Melvin Hodgkiss wrote on May 9
that the discovery of elevated radioactivity “confirms our
previous visual observation and determination that drilling
mud/cuttings were left on or near the surface at some drill
About 22 percent of the sites tested were found to be higher in
radioactivity than natural background levels. Elevated radiation levels
were minimal, Hodgkiss wrote, “relative to the land area
disturbed … and not sufficient to pose a radiation exposure
Anthony, responding to repeated statements of his numerous violations,
allowed only that “There was a little bit of a housekeeping
problem out there. We took care of that.”
As to ongoing problems at uranium mining operations in Kleburg County,
Anthony bravely owned up to his role there, stating he had already left
the company by the time the public began complaining about the state
Resources Inc. to expand mining operations before cleaning up
the mess in the aquifer.
“I wasn’t involved,” he said.
Many complained at the meeting that the whole event had been engineered
simply for another pitch to potential stockholders. Low and behold,
optimistic statements on the company’s exploratory progress
went up today at StockQuote via RediNews:
Uranium Energy Corp Announces
Progress With Drilling at Its Goliad Project
Uranium Energy Corp (AMEX:UEC)(FRANKFURT: U6Z)(BERLIN: U6Z) announces
continuing development at the Company's Goliad Project in Texas.
Notable developments include:
- Continuing success with step-out drilling that is increasing the
extent of known mineralized trends in both B and D Sands at Goliad;
- Ongoing drilling to support the permitting process, extensive coring
- Addition of quality technical personnel at the project site.
And what about all that extra security at the meeting?
The state's moderator said she has never seen so much security at any
similar public hearing. We have Anthony’s attorney, Monica
Holmes, to thank for this, I’m told. Holmes placed a call to
the Texas Rangers, according to Goliad County Sheriff Robert De La
Garza. The Rangers kicked it down to Highway Patrol, and a security
detail made of state troopers, sheriff’s deputies, and
constables blocked off the street in front of the meeting hall.
The older crowd was none too pleased with the unexpected walk.
“They are trying to make them look like radicals,”
Goliad Commissioner Jim Kreneck told me before the meeting.
I tried hard, but I only spotted a handful of traditional
“tree-hugger” types in that crowd of roughly 400.
Unless the new radical chic is South Texas ranchland fashion...