Page images
PDF
EPUB

Mr. MARRIOTT. About 30 blocks from the State Capitol and about 8 or 9 blocks to the west, there is a large area of some 130 or so acres of land just simply sitting out there with these radioactive elements right on top of the ground. About 8 feet. The contaminated area and the soil is about an 8-foot deep area on this 130 acres of land just sitting there. There are no fences on it. It can be distinguished by a large smokestack in the middle of it with the words "Vitro" on it. There is no fencing whatsoever.

We have identified that some of these tailings have been removed. I earlier indicated that some have been removed and formed the bed of fire station No. 1, but most of them have not been removed to the extent they were in Grand Junction, for example, and so they are all remaining right in that location.

Property values have been depressed substantially. We had a hearing out in Salt Lake a while back and many people came and testified that their friends and relatives have either died or now have serious health conditions with cancer as a result of living in this area.

Also, one of the school districts prepares its food in its food kitchen within a very small, small distance from this tailing site. It is just sitting out there and nobody knows what to do with it and I think it poses a very serious situation not only to property values, but to health values as well.

Mr. GORE. If the Federal Government paid 100 percent of the cost of cleaning it up-and I want to reserve judgment on whether that ought to be the case or not, then the property values would increase substantially, is that correct?

Mr. MARRIOTT. Around and about the area-
Mr. GORE. And in the area itself.

Mr. MARRIOTT. I would say what they would do is, they would not increase substantially; they would come back up to the point where they would have been without the Vitro tailings there because nobody will buy the property. People can't sell, and what has happened now is that the people in that area have a depressed market condition for their homes in comparison with those say 15 or 10 miles farther away from the site.

I am guessing no one is going to make a bonanza there, except maybe the people who have purchased the Vitro tailing site. If it is cleaned up, they could well see a great appreciation which I think could be resolved by the States if they are required to purchase the land.

Mr. GORE. If the State does not purchase the site and a private corporation owns the site and the land value is depressed today, and if the Federal Government pays 100 percent of the cost of cleaning this stuff up, and the land value soars, then the owner of the land has received substantial value as a result of the 100 percent expenditure by the Federal Government.

Mr. MARRIOTT. And I would say that poses a problem that we have looked at that would in fact be the case and my guess is that prior to any type of Federal money, the State should probably be required to purchase that land-

Mr. GORE. In all cases?
Mr. MARRIOTT. I think so.
Mr. Gore. Thank you very much for your testimony.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. OTTINGER. Staff has one question.

Mr. FINNEGAN. Mr. Marriott, in your bill you also provide for cost sharing of 75 percent for offsite restoration work. Can you tell us what you mean by offsite? It is not defined in the bill.

Mr. MARRIOTT. The only precedent we have regarding the 75/25 split was that established in the Grand Junction, Colo., area and that is where the 75/25 comes in to begin with.

Now, the cffsite, if I am not mistaken, is the tailings that have been taken away from the original site, placed in another location for building purposes, and then the costs associated with solving the problem away from the original site.

Mr. FINNEGAN. Are there any such areas in Utah that you are concerned with?

Mr. MARRIOTT. We have identified some five or six areas on a very small scale where such sites have been—where the Vitros have been moved to another site. Other than the fire station, I think there are no large areas.

I stand corrected. There are 5 sites of significant problem and 17 that need to be cleaned up in the Salt Lake area.

Mr. FINNEGAN. Could you provide a list of those for the record? Mr. MARRIOTT. I would be delighted. [The following information was received for the record:)

URANIUM MILL TAILINGS-OFF-SITE LOCATIONS 1
Residences

1. 3690 South Main Street (Firehouse No. 1).
2. 2583 South 800 East.
3. 3339 South 900 West.
4. 661 West 3300 South.

5. 3687 South 2740 West. Commercial

1. 3195 South 900 West. 2. 3215 South 900 West. 3. 184 West 3300 South. 4. 1101 South 700 West. 5. 3585 South 500 West.

6. Two lots adjacent to 2545 South 300 West. Lots

1. 3432 South 900 West.
2. 3007 South State.
3. 3040 South State.
4. 3365 South 300 West.
5. 2545 South 300 West.

Mr. FINNEGAN. Under your bill and the administration bill, you are not suggesting by the initial language of the legislation about a "compassionate responsibility” of the United States to assume responsibility for any claims that may arise at a later time as a result of the radiation exposure from any of these sites, is that correct?

Mr. MARRIOTT. Although the language in my bill possibly needs further clarification regarding the liability issue, it is my intention

As identified by EPA study. Please note EPA never completed study due to lack of funds, and thus there may exist additional sites.

that the Federal Government be held liable for an health impact that may result from exposure to these tailings piles.

Mr. FINNEGAN. In the bill itself you are not intending that the United States by held responsible?

Mr. MARRIOTT. No, that is incorrect.
Mr. FINNEGAN. Thank you.
Mr. OTTINGER. Thank you very much, Mr. Marriott.

We will next hear from Mr. Anderson. We are pleased to have
our colleague Mr. Lujan here, who has brought with him Mr.
Anderson. We are pleased to have you with us.
STATEMENT OF MAXIE L. ANDERSON, PRESIDENT, RANCHERS

EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT CORP., ACCOMPANIED BY JAMIE DEUEL

Mr. ANDERSON. We have a prepared statement written by one of the company vice presidents which will be much more eloquent than what I will talk about. Since I don't read too well, I will address the question perhaps a little more disjointedly if that is all right.

Mr. OTTINGER. We will be glad to include your full statement in the record.

Mr. ANDERSON. I thought perhaps it would be a little easier if you had some visual idea. We have about 12 slides of the site at Naturita, Colo. Ranchers has two sites, one at Naturita and one at Durango. We have several proposals. Ours are a little more from a commercial aspect than they are from a general public aspect.

In our case we will approach it from the company's participation with the Government. It is perhaps a good way to clean up some sites and make it more acceptable at the least possible cost.

I believe it would be easier if we just show you these slides and then I will come back and make my statement for the record.

Mr. DEUEL. This is one of the 22 tailing sites that have been mentioned.

Mr. OTTINGER. Would you identify yourself, please?

Mr. DEUEL. I am Jamie Deuel, former Navy submarine commander, now working with Ranchers in the environmental licensing aspect of the business.

This site (slide 1) located along the San Miguel River, one of the major recreational rivers in the State, was positioned by the Federal Government. In hindsight we can identify that it was a very, very poor location there, right alongside the river. This is the tailings proper. This shows where the General Electric Co. has an ore stockpiling area to the left of the slide and these are some of the administrative and associated buildings.

The tailings (slide 2) owned by Ranchers is right here. The location is not only bad from its proximity to the river, but it is located on a very pervious gravel bed which will make ultimate cleanup a real challenge.

Here (slide 3) we are down at the site itself. You can see basically the way we go about this. There are essentially three pieces of equipment. There is a bulldozer on the site that moves the material so a front-end loader can in turn dump it into one of these trucks.

Ranchers (slide 4) moved this material about 3.5 miles away from the river inland to a desolate part of the State. There were no

with total implementation of the restoration and disposal. These
costs should be borne by the federal government. If the state
decides not to be an applicant, all of these financial burdens
would be borne by DOE. If the state decides to be an applicant, it

is financially penalized for actively participating in the restoration. 5) Section 5(b) - If the federal government pays for the land acquisition

then items 5(b)(1) and (2) are reasonable. If the state pays, the provisions in this section are grossly unfair to the state and should

be deleted. In either case, item 5(b)(3) should be deleted. 6) Section 7(a) - Bluewater, New Mexico and Milan, New Mexico should be

included in the list of sites (also see comment #12). 7) Section 7(b) - DOE should also provide financial assistance (if not

provided for in Section 4(g)) for restoration plan preparation. The final approved plan should be satisfactory to the state as well as the

Secretary. 8) Section 7(c) $140,000,000 would not be sufficient to achieve the

goal of the bill. It is recommended that $600,000,000 be allocated.

(See item #2 of my May 10, 1978 letter). 9) Section 9(b)(1) and (2) - Radiation criteria should be referred to

Section 10(a). (See comment #1 above). 10) Section 9(b)(3) In addition to long-term monitoring, DOE, under this

section, should be responsible for any long-term site maintenance and

inspection.
11) Section 1006) - The responsibility for preparing any Environmental

Impact Statements required under the NEPA should be defined. Since
New Mexico does not have a "little NEPA" statute, the state has neither

resources nor authority to prepare an EIS.
12) Section 12(d) - This definition of an abandoned uranium mill site

excludes all inactive uranium tailings sites in New Mexico with the
exception of the Shiprock site which is on Indian land and covered by
Section 8. The Ambrosia Lake site would be excluded because there is
an operating ion-exchange plant on the site which is a state licensee
(the ion-exchange plant concentrates uranium in mine water into a
"pregnant" solution which is sent to an off-site mill for further
concentrating and packaging). The inactive tailings piles at Milan
and Bluewater are at the sites of licensed, operating uranium mills.
These three tailings piles, which are excluded by the site definition,
were generated during the period when the federal government was the
only customer and regulator. These piles are inactive and have been
so since the end of the aforementioned period. The site definition
should therefore be changed so that these inactive tailings pile sites

can be provided for by this bill. I hope that these comments will be of assistance to you and that the major concerns outlined above will be provided for in the final version of this important legislation. Sincerely,

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Your letter to Governor Apodaca regarding legislation addressing the
restoration of abandoned uranium mill sites (HR 11698) has been forwarded
to my office for comment. I am pleased that HR 11698 provides for the
major problems associated with the proposed DOE Bill that was expressed
in the Governor's March letter to you. In particular, I fully concur
with the provisions of the HR 11698 that shifts the total financial burden
of restoration to the federal government where it rightfully belongs and
allows each state to opt either for state or federal implementation of the
restoration.

The Environmental Improvement Division staff has reviewed HR 11698 (I
understand the revised Bill 12229, is substantially the same with the
exception of provision for Indian lands and two additional sites). The
staff review has resulted in several suggested changes to the Bill which
are given in the attachment. The primary recommendations are the following:
1) There are two inactive tailings piles in New Mexico that are not

included in the list of sites (Sec. 2(f)). One is located at
Milan and the other at Bluewater. Although these piles are at
the sites of active mills, they are physically separated from
the active piles associated with these operating mills. These
inactive piles were generated in the same time period as the
other inactive piles considered in the DOE study but were not

included in the study.
2) The 140 million dollars allocated for restoration would result

in an average of 7 million dollars per tailings pile. Of the
ten remedial action options offered in the DOE study of the
Salt Lake City site, only two cost less than 7 million dollars
and three cost about 30 million or more. Using 30 million
dollars per site would result in a needed allocation of roughly
600 million dollars. In light of the uncertainties in long-term
tailings disposal technology and inflation, it is believed that
600 million dollars should be allocated to insure adequate
remedial action at all sites.

« PreviousContinue »