Commissioners appear to support uranium mining in Bee County
by Scott Reese Willey
Nov 16, 2008 | 1621 views | 5 5 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Corrected version

County commissioners seemed ready to support a resolution Monday that endorsed uranium mining in Bee County.

Commissioners listened to a presentation on uranium mining from a group of uranium mining company executives who said they were interested in doing business in Bee County.

“The industry right now is revitalizing,” said Harry Anthony, chief operating officer and director of Uranium Energy.

He said energy demands will double in the next 25 years and nuclear power will play a leading role in providing electricity to Texas residents.

He said every county in South Texas has untapped uranium reserves.

He said the United States presently imports about 90-95 percent of its uranium needs from other countries.

“There are other companies actively involved in looking at Bee County. Our company is looking at Bee County, and there are a few other companies that are currently evaluating prospects in Bee County, Anthony said.

The executives assured commissioners the method of extracting the uranium was safe. They presented a short film that described how the process works by pumping oxygenated water into the ground bearing uranium. The uranium is attracted to the oxygenated water, which is then pumped back above ground to mobile mining equipment, similar to portable oil wells. A filter collects the uranium and the oxygenated water is once again pumped below ground to collect uranium.

The executives said the oxygenated water is in a loop so that it cannot contaminate the ground water or the ground. Once the uranium is extracted, the site is cleaned so that it is in its original state, they assured the commissioners court.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Susan Stasny said she wanted to postpone adopting the resolution until the court could hear from a land owner in the Pawnee area who has had test wells sunk on his property.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Carlos Salazar Jr. said he saw no reason not to approve the resolution.

He said uranium mining has gone on in Bee County in the past and didn’t see why it should not continue.

Stasny said the companies do not need a resolution to conduct mining operations in Bee County.

Anthony said the uranium mining industry is seeking resolutions of support from counties prior to the next legislative session.

Stasny said uranium mining companies have leased property in the Pawnee area and have already drilled 15 test holes but have yet to decide whether to commence with mining operations.

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November 20, 2008

I know the mining did wonders for George West,It also secured a rich life for your Mom and Dad. I had family members, my husband, friends, who worked at USS Steel,it was great at the time,good money good insurance until the workers got laid off and they started dying from cancer.I had friends,my father,and other workers die from working around all the uranium.My husband was a driller and we have been blessed,he has not contacted cancer but has had a number of cyst removed from back.He would wash and change before he got home but even so; my daugter had asthma ,allergies ,skin rashes and all sorts of minor aches and pains,she got over all the illnesses when my husband decided to retire.My father on the other hand died in 2000 from cancer.In 2000 my mother settled with the company. Yes the money is good but it is not worth losing a loved one over good money.My mother lives on the money she received but hates the fact my daddy lost his life doing a job the CEO's said was safe.Ranchogirl2008
November 20, 2008
To Cathy Riser: Uranium mining may provide a boom, but at what cost? Mining contaminates ground water. Mining companies have never been able to restore water to pre-mining conditions (check state records for proof), and in the end, when mining is no longer profitable, the company picks up and walks away. PLEASE do not encourage the contamination of a precious resource for the sake of a few dollars in the present. In the long run, you WILL be sorry.
J Sherman
November 20, 2008
Anybody that uses a water well close to that exploration had better test the water for radionuclides right now. If the levels increase during exploration, the mining companies will claim the water was unfit the whole time. This happened at Garcia Hill in Kingsville, but it was too late to prove anything. I believe the commissioners court in Kingsville has spent over a million dollars on lawsuits so far.
Goliad Guy
November 20, 2008
I guess the commissioners in Bee County aren't aware that Goliad County Commissioners Court passed a resolution to file suit against UEC for jacking up the aquifer during exploration. A few people around the exploration site cannot use their water anymore. Man, people should do some research before they swallow the hook like that.
Cathy Riser
November 18, 2008
Good short story. Uranium mining made George West a boom town about 20 yrs. ago and provided jobs for people from surrounding areas including Beeville. New uranium exploration and mining would do wonders for the Bee County economy.