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Proposed White Mesa Uranium Mill License Renewal Draws Protest

Gail Binkly

More than 80 people marched four miles Saturday to protest operations at the White Mesa Uranium Mill between Bluff and Blanding in Southeast Utah.

Carrying signs such as “Water Is Life” and “No Nukes,” they walked along Highway 191 from the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation town of White Mesa to the mill entrance, where they were halted by Bureau of Indian Affairs officers. After some spirited exchanges, the protesters dispersed and were shuttled back to town. The State of Utah is considering a license renewal for the facility -- the only conventional uranium mill operating in the country. The renewal includes a radioactive-materials license, groundwater discharge permit, and approval to process alternate materials. Critics say the mill is violating air-quality standards for radon and that old tailings ponds may be leaking. A public meeting will take place in Blanding on June 15th.

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