CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The Environmental Protection Agency is reconsidering plans to require groundwater at former uranium mines to be restored to conditions similar to those that existed before mining began.
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The proposal withdrawn Wednesday and resubmitted for further consideration in President-elect Donald Trump's administration involves a process that uses chemicals to dissolve uranium out of underground deposits. Water laden with uranium is then pumped to the surface in the process known as in-situ mining.
Wyoming's Republican U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Mike Enzi praised the decision. Wyoming has five active in-situ uranium mines and is the top uranium-producing state.
Industry advocates say in-situ uranium mining hasn't contaminated groundwater used for drinking. Environmentalists say uranium mining companies have yet to show they can fully clean up groundwater at a former in-situ mine.