In 2012, the EPA issued an aquifer exemption to Uranium Energy Corporation that allowed UEC to begin in-situ mining in the northern part of Goliad County.
Last year, Houston attorney John Blackburn represented several Goliad County residents in filing an appeal to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The court ordered the EPA to seek more public input over a 60-day period.
“This meeting in Victoria comes out of the federal suit filed against the EPA by Goliad citizens for the approval of the aquifer exemption for UEC’s uranium mine,” Blackburn said in a statement to the Advance-Guard.
“Our suit alleges that the EPA violated the requirements of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and was wrongfully influenced by a Washington lobbyist. At this Victoria hearing, the citizens and officials of Goliad County have a chance to convince the EPA that the groundwater of Goliad County is important to them and to the future of Goliad County.”
The Goliad County Commissioners Court voted 3-2 on Jan. 27 to pass a resolution opposing uranium mining in the county.
UEC spokesman Matt Welch said he and other UEC representatives will be at the hearing.
“We respect the decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and appreciate the Environmental Protection Agency’s desire to have a complete and thorough administrative record of their decision,” Welch said in a statement to the Advance-Guard.
“The EPA conducted an extensive and rigorous review before concurring with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s earlier decision to approve the Goliad aquifer exemption request. The EPA’s original decision was based on detailed hydrologic data, modeling, testing and sound science. This exhaustive review by state and federal authorities clearly demonstrates the proposed aquifer exemption area does not currently serve as a source of drinking water, not now or in the future.”
Those with no transportation to the hearing can contact Barbara Smith at the Goliad County Groundwater Conservation District at 645-1716.
Those unable to attend the meeting can email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail comments to Diane Smith, Goliad AE Public Comments, EPA Region 6, 1445 Ross Ave., Dallas, TX 75202-2733.