Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Uranium drilling: paper shuffle or new permits?

BLM disputes the claim by the Center for Biological Diversity that BLM authorized new exploration drilling for uranium in the Arizona Strip.

A story on Greenwire and posted by Scientific American [erroneously titled, "Prospecting for Uranium--in the Grand Canyon"] this morning quotes Michael Taylor, deputy director of resources at BLM's Arizona state office, as calling the action a "paper shuffle" - "a transfer of bonding money between the [exploration] notices. There is no on-the-ground exploration authorized."

He said the company shifted reclamation bond funds from one set of proposed exploration holes to another set that had not been bonded and are higher priority. BLM says the company has given no notice they intend to drill the newly bonded sites and that BLM has not approved any new drilling. [right, uranium exploration targets in breccia pipes. Credit, Quaterra Resources]

Exploration opponents argue that, "The fact they shifted the bonding to these sites means they can begin this exploration drilling."

Update, 4pm, 5-6-09: The New York Times is running the Greenwire story under the headline, "BLM Authorizes Grand Canyon Uranium Exploration." This is shaping up to be a challenge to the new Administration on it's public lands stance.

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