A Canadian company’s push to build the United States’ first new conventional uranium mill since the Cold War has cleared local hurdles — despite environmental concerns — and won wary high-level support. Many residents of the economically bereft western Colorado area around Nucla and Naturita (approximate population 700 each) now count on the Energy Fuels Inc. project to bring back Atomic Age prosperity. Beyond the mill, they envision uranium mining jobs as part of a national nuclear renaissance that could spur homebuilding, better schools, restaurants and recreational amenities. “Nothing’s going to happen without a mill,” said Mike Thompson, 25, board member of the Naturita-based Western Small Miners Association. “Right now, we can’t support 18- to 30-year-olds because we just don’t have the jobs.”
A federal push to protect 18,462 Front Range acres as habitat for the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse has set off an endangered-species battle royale.
Wildlife conservationists cheered the release Wednesday of the federal proposal, which could limit development on the land, mostly along 184 miles of rivers and streams.
Representatives of developers promised a court challenge, arguing that protecting more habitat isn’t necessary because the mouse itself already is protected as a threatened species.
Among projects that could be affected: the planned Jeffco Parkway southeast of Rocky Flats, an expansion of Chatfield Reservoir and housing developments in El Paso County along tributaries of Monument Creek.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to nearly double the current 20,680 acres of protected habitat for the mouse — a bug-loving brown omnivore that springs up as high as 3 feet to evade predators.
State, feds take a fresh look at once-rejected protections
From wolverines to black-tailed prairie dogs, dozens of species in Colorado and across the nation are being re-evaluated for possible threatened or endangered status. The Obama administration is taking a fresh look, in many cases under court order, at Bush administration rejections of special status.
Skepticism about Zazi case gives way to hard questions
The evolving case of terrorism suspect Najibullah Zazi — the Afghan immigrant jailed in an alleged bombing plot — initially struck some in Colorado’s Islamic community as another example of FBI overenthusiasm. But as details trickled out, skepticism morphed into surprise and embarrassment, prompting leaders to ask searching questions about themselves, the community and how U.S. actions abroad could imperil Americans at home.