Long’s comments came during the July 9 County Commissioners Court meeting in which Welch was present.
“There is no proof that UEC’s exploration operation has in any way contaminated drinking water and groundwater in northern Goliad County,” Welch said.
Welch cited a 2009 Texas Railroad Commission test that found no contamination of water in the county as a result of uranium exploration.
At the July 9 Commissioners Court meeting, the court voted down a proposed resolution presented by Precinct 3 Commissioner Jim Kreneck that would have opposed UEC exploration in southern Goliad County.
Last month, UEC was granted an exploration permit from the Texas Railroad Commission to begin drilling immediately in southern Goliad County on land leased from local property owners.
According to Welch, UEC acquired the rights to explore for uranium on the Channen Project, a 10,704-acre property located in southern Goliad County, in May.
Welch said the public has been misinformed by fear tactics from elected officials in Goliad County.
“Commissioner Long and other
opponents of uranium mining are frequently unconstrained by the truth and their hysterical claims of contamination are not grounded in science, facts or accuracy,” Welch said. “They make outlandish claims blaming the uranium industry for everything wrong with water quality but are never held to account to verify their claims.”
The Goliad County Groundwater Conservation District is trying to set up meetings with the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency to voice its concerns over the recent Texas Railroad Commission’s decision to allow UEC to explore for uranium in southern Goliad County.
“Many Goliad residents are quick to jump on the bandwagon of the GCGCD, who is the head cheerleader in opposition to UEC and uranium mining,” Welch said. “ Like the pied piper, they lead their minions down a path carved out of fear and innuendo.”
Welch said the protests of Goliad County and the GCGCD have come at the cost of county residents.
“In these challenging economic times, Goliad County is struggling to maintain county services and infrastructure,” Welch said. “They are raising the tax rate to make ends meet and balance the county budget. Goliad County and the Goliad County Groundwater Conservation District have spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars funding the legal challenge to UEC’s permit application before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The exact figure is unknown but estimates are in excess of $750,000.
“It’s ironic that a county that derives 45 percent of its tax revenue from a coal-fired generation plant (Coleto Creek Power) is spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars fighting the development of a clean energy source - uranium.”