Monday, June 13, 2011

Groups oppose BLM's reference to scientific reports on uranium in northern Arizona

Two groups are complaining that the Bureau of Land Management references scientific reports for their EIS on uranium in northern Arizona, presumably including one published by AZGS, because they were authored or co-authored by a consulting geologist who has financial interests the region. [right, withdrawal areas on federal lands. Credit, BLM-Arizona]

According to a story from E&E News (subscription required), "The Environmental Working Group and Earthworks say BLM cited geologist Karen Wenrich in their evaluation of potential mining impacts on the Colorado River without disclosing that the scientist stands to benefìt from mining near the Grand Canyon."

Karen is a co-author with AZGS Senior Geologist Jon Spencer on our recently released Breccia-pipe Uranium Mining in the Grand Canyon Region and Implications for Uranium Levels in Colorado River Water, (Open-file Report 11-04). The report documents the amount of uranium carried by the Colorado River from erosion of naturally-occurring processes.

E&E News quotes BLM, "We understandably cited many of her publications, and at least one author had a conversation with her to clarify some things related to one or more of them. Dr. Wenrich was not a contractor for BLM, nor did she specifìcally perform any work on the EIS either paid or volunteer. There has not been a 'relationship' between Dr. Wenrich and BLM in regards to the [Northern Arizonal Proposed Withdrawal ElS."

We were aware of Karen's minerals activities in the region but found that they were irrelevant to the contributions she made in the study with Jon Spencer. Karen's role as a consulting geologist is identified prominentlyThe report went through internal and external peer review prior to release. The calculations in the study are simple and easily replicated by anyone with a calculator. We believe it provides valuable scientific evidence that addresses one of the main rationales for carrying out the EIS on 1 million acres of federal lands. We stand by the study.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:14 PM

    If the Environmental Working Group and Earthworks believe the science in the reports is not good, they should tell why they disagree instead of attacking the credentials of the author. Karen Wenrich released many scientific reports on breccia pipes and northwestern Arizona geology while she worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, years before she became a consultant.