Tell it to the Chieftain: Nuclear in Fremont County, Pueblo's good image and Lauren Boebert

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Nuclear in Fremont County

As conversations continue regarding the feasibility and suitability of a nuclear power plant to be located in Pueblo sometime in the future, Pueblo’s neighbors upriver in Cañon City would like to remind folks that there are major, unresolved problems with the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle. This year Cañon City will “celebrate” its 40th year as home to a Superfund site, the former Cotter Corporation uranium mill which produced yellowcake (concentrated uranium used to make nuclear power plant fuel rods) from uranium ore.

The Cotter site and nearby neighborhoods were contaminated over the years with radioactive materials, heavy metals, and other toxic substances from the milling and tailings disposal operation. The environmental contamination was first discovered in the 1960’s and 1970’s and the federal Environmental Protection Agency declared the site a Superfund site in 1984. Not only did federal and state regulators allow Cotter to continue operating a uranium mill and tailings disposal site for decades after the discovery of the contamination, to this day the site and nearby neighborhoods have not been fully assessed to determine the extent of contamination, and a cleanup plan has not yet been devised.

Here’s what it has meant for the community: Private water wells were contaminated by the polluted groundwater and cannot be used for household, garden, or livestock use. Tailings (radioactive leftovers from the milling process) blew for miles on windy days, and the full impact of that wind-spread contamination has never been investigated. And there has been no comprehensive health study to determine how generations of residents may have been impacted.

It is important for Puebloans to understand the slow-moving environmental disaster that has taken place upriver from them. No, nuclear power is not “clean” energy. Cañon City residents were promised good paying jobs in the 1950’s and instead inherited a contaminated nightmare.

Emily Tracy, Chair, Lincoln Park/Cotter Superfund site Community Advisory Group

Pueblo’s good image

Recently there have been some very thoughtful letters to the editor printed in the Pueblo Chieftain against starting up a nuclear power plant in Pueblo. We agree with the writers.

Nuclear power has inherent dangers--design flaws, human error, waste materials, and even sabotage by terrorist/hate groups. No so-called experts can guarantee its complete safety. And most of these experts will not live anywhere near a nuclear power plant. It is our understanding that the power generated is again going to Denver, not Pueblo. Why should Pueblo take all the risks for a nuclear power plant that isn’t even going to serve us?

There are at least two alternative clean renewable energy sources that could be used here.

Wind turbine tower components are conveniently manufactured here in Pueblo County and, of course, we have the sun out about 300 days a year for solar power.

Our second concern is why Pueblo is considered a dumping ground for waste. We finally cleaned up the Chemical Depot. We do not believe our southside dump should be used for the debris from the disgraced funeral home in Penrose. Have the powers behind that idea considered burying the debris on site and erecting a memorial there to honor the folks that were abandoned by the funeral home.

Pueblo’s good image has far more impact to draw clean business/industry. We need to dwell on Pueblo’s assets: our good weather, Pueblo Reservoir, Nature and Raptor Center, Pueblo Zoo, hiking trails along the Arkansas River, and CSU-Pueblo to name a few. These wonderful assets along with an improved school system will draw people to Pueblo.

Joan Herrmann, Pueblo

Boebert should reimburse constituents

As a voting resident of Congressional District 3 I was delighted beyond words to hear that the vaping groper, Lauren Boebert, who theoretically represents CD3, decided to turn tail and try to get elected in the Fourth Congressional District — the word carpetbagger comes to mind.

Lauren Boebert is the poster child for the swamp dwellers in Washington. She purports to be a fiscal conservative and now has an opportunity to prove it. Anyone with integrity, which she does not have, would certainly not accept government funds to which she is not entitled.

Here’s the rub. She no longer lives in CD3 because she moved to CD4 so she can run her campaign, yet she continues to draw her full salary as the CD3 representative.

She should reimburse the constituents in CD3 for every second she is campaigning in CD4 and ignoring those who live in CD3. That is what an honorable person would do.

Dennis Maes, Pueblo

To submit a letter to the editor, email Editor Zach Hillstrom at All letters may be edited for grammar and AP style. Letters that are wholly false in nature, discriminatory, offensive, obscene, or violent in any way will not run. There is only a certain amount of space allotted for letters each week. Letters received first have priority.

This article originally appeared on The Pueblo Chieftain: Tell it to the Chieftain