CHEYENNE — The Biodiversity Conservation Alliance filed suit in federal court in Cheyenne last week to contest federal approval of a uranium mine in southwest Wyoming.
Ur-Energy, which completed permitting activities for the mine last month, began construction of a two-million-pounds-per-year processing facility at Lost Creek on Oct. 31. The company plans to invest $30 to $40 million in the project over the next six to nine months.
“Thanks to the advanced preparation of the Ur-Energy team, we have been able to initiate construction without delay following receipt of our final regulatory approval earlier this month,” said Wayne Heili, president and CEO of Ur-Energy.
However the Laramie-based Biodiversity Conservation Alliance says the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) failed to abide by both their own sage grouse policy and a Wyoming executive order; and violated federal laws in approving the Lost Creek uranium mine.
The Alliance's allegations include BLM failed to take a hard look at how the mine would affect sage grouse, pocket gophers and pygmy rabbits. It claims that the nearly-finished access road to the Lost Creek site is too close to a sage grouse breeding ground, or lek.
According to the Alliance's Facebook
posting, the Lost Creek project is sited inside a safe grouse Core Area in the Red Desert. "If we win, we will set a precedent that unlimited loopholes cannot be offered to allow the industrialization of Core Areas," the posting read. "An adverse ruling [will] serve as a signal that the Core Area policy is ineffective at protecting sage grouse habitats."
BLM officials declined to comment on pending litigation.
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