WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) issued the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to withdraw its draft final rule related to in situ uranium recovery (ISR).
In January 2015, the EPA issued a proposed rule requiring uranium recovery operators to conduct up to 30 years of groundwater monitoring following uranium production. Today, EPA has decided to re-propose the rule rather than issue a final rule. A 180-day comment period will begin upon official publication of the proposal in the Federal Register.
“Withdrawing this rule is the correct decision by EPA,” said Barrasso. “In situ uranium recovery has a successful 40-year history in the United States. It provides jobs in Wyoming, and throughout the West, while providing clean, safe, and affordable energy for people across the country. It will now be up to President-elect Trump to decide whether to allow this unnecessary rulemaking to go forward.”
ISR is a method of producing uranium without removing the uranium orebody. It offers a wide range of environmental and public health benefits, and is the principal means by which uranium is produced in the United States. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission ensures the safety of uranium recovery by inspection and enforcement of strict groundwater protection standards.
The EPA initially proposed the rule for uranium recovery facilities on Jan. 26, 2015.
On Oct. 5, 2016, the EPA sent its final rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.
On Oct. 20, 2016, Barrasso and Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) sent a letter to OMB Director Shaun Donovan calling on the OMB to direct EPA to withdraw the rule. The letter also questioned the EPA’s cost-benefit analysis and asked OMB to conduct its own cost-benefit analysis prior to taking any further action on the rule.