Thursday, July 23, 2009


Gov. Bill Ritter said today he will oppose the federal government if it moves ahead with a proposal to ship thousands of tons of mercury to a waste storage site south of Grand Junction.
The governor he will convey his reservations about the proposal to the Department of Energy in a letter in the coming days.
"Colorado's Western Slope is no place for the federal government to deposit thousands of tons of mercury," Gov. Ritter said. "The risks to ground and surface water are too great. The risks to our air quality are too great. The risks of transporting elemental mercury over long distances and on routes that run adjacent to or cross major water sources, such as the Colorado River, are too great.
"This dangerous and harmful material should be stored in close proximity to where it is generated, rather than dumping it on the Western Slope," Gov. Ritter said.
The Grand Junction Disposal Site in Mesa County, which currently stores uranium mill tailings, is one of seven locations under consideration for mercury storage by the U.S. Department of Energy. Others are in Idaho, Missouri, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas and Washington.
The DOE intends to have a mercury storage site selected and operational by 2013.