The potential resurgence of uranium mining in the U.S. raises questions of both national and local interest.
"SLICK ROCK, Colo. — The Dolores River bends through southwestern Colorado like a gooseneck, shaded by red rock canyons that leave those who pass through here breathless.
Hidden from the riverbanks, behind cottonwoods and mule deer tracks, are different, artificial formations. Off a nearby road, an aging tower marks the property of the Burros Mine, partly owned by State Representative Don Coram. Heaps of rocks tinged with the greenish hue of uranium are visible. Abandoned mining equipment lies strewn about. A darkened portal is gated shut. Downstream, another mine, owned by the Cotter Corporation, lies similarly silent.
Despite bursts of activity from 2003 through 2008, most uranium mines scattered across Colorado have largely been out of production for decades, a testament to fluctuating mineral prices. Now the future of these mines is at the crux of a dispute that could set a precedent for how they are handled."