The House of Representatives just dealt a huge blow to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uranium mining regulations, which may force the U.S. to depend entirely on imported nuclear fuel.
The House barred the EPA from erecting new regulatory hurdles Wednesday that could make it much harder for American uranium to compete with the world.
“In January 2015 the EPA introduced a rule that would greatly extend the amount of time it takes to permit a uranium mine,” Harry Anthony, President of the Uranium Producers of America, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“The new rule would add two years to the permit process in the name of protecting water, even though the agency admits there has never been a case of contamination in 30 years. It already takes five or six years to permit a uranium permit right now. This is the most regulated industry in the world, but its never harmed anything!” Anthony said.
Environmentalists were furious at the House’s vote. A press statement from the green group Earthjustice claimed the bill included 65 anti-environmental riders. The group has already called on President Barack Obama to veto the bill if it passes the Senate.
Environmentalists and left wing politicians have repeatedly used alleged risks to groundwater that crippled the American uranium industry. This has allowed foreign producers, especially Kazakhstan and Russia, to dominate the American market. Kazakhstan alone now supplies 23 percent of the uranium for America’s nuclear reactors, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). American uranium mining is on the decline as a result of the extremely strict regulations, with fewer new holes drilled and expenditures for new land, exploration, and drilling declining 22 percent, according to the EIA.
American commercial nuclear reactors doubled their purchases of Kazakhstani uranium in 2014, largely due to the decline in the amount of the American uranium industry.
“The industry has tried to work with the EPA to demonstrate that there is no risk to groundwater from uranium mining, but they never even responded to our offer,” Anthony continued. “If this rule becomes a new regulation, we won’t have a uranium industry in this country. We’ll be 100 percent dependent on foreign uranium.”
When Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State her department approved the sale of approximately 20 percent of U.S. uranium production capacity to Russian-controlled companies, including Uranium One. Uranium One’s chairman donated $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to The New York Times. The donation was not publicly disclosed.
Uranium One is deeply tied to the government of Kazakhstan and has received substantial concessions and perks from that government.
Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who chaired Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, has been citing groundwater concerns to prevent America’s largest uranium deposit from being mined since 2013, boosting Uranium One’s market share and profits.
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