GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released its Record of Decision for the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), announcing that it will continue managing the Uranium Leasing Program for another 10 years.
The Department of Energy will manage the program according to its preferred alternative of exploration, reclamation, mine development and operations with final required reclamation at 31 lease tracts for the next 10-year period. The Department’s Office of Legacy Management manages these tracts in Mesa, Montrose, and San Miguel counties in Colorado, which amounts to approximately 25,000 acres leased to private entities for uranium and vanadium mining. There have been three previous leasing periods on the tracts since the program was established in 1948. No mining operations are active on these lands at this time.
In preparing the Uranium Leasing Program Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, the Department analyzed potential site-specific and cumulative environmental impacts, and evaluated five alternatives ranging from cancelation to continuing for the remainder of the 10-year lease period that started in 2008. During the evaluation process, DOE conducted a 109-day public comment period, held four public meetings in southwestern Colorado, and considered all public comments on the PEIS in preparing the decision.
The Department will implement the Record of Decision only after the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado has dissolved the injunction issued on October 18, 2011, which froze lease activities at these tracts until this evaluation process was completed. The Department will evaluate the 31 lease tracts on a case-by-case basis, and the leases will be modified as needed in the implementation of this decision.
The Record of Decision and final environmental impact statement can be found on the DOE Legacy Management website at http://energy.gov/lm/office-legacy-management, or on the DOE National Environmental Policy Act website at www.energy.gov/nepa.