Chaffetz Pleased With Accelerated Tailings Cleanup

Jul 8, 2013
Chaffetz Pleased With Accelerated Tailings Cleanup

Washington, D.C. – After waiting several years, the Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) project will receive additional funding if an appropriations bill supported by House Republicans becomes law. 

“I applaud House Republicans for increasing funding on this important project,” said Chaffetz. “Swift removal of contaminated tailings will impact four states and several counties in southern Utah. The sooner we can get this site cleaned, the better.”

HR 2609, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act is expected to be voted on in the House this week. This legislation would appropriate $40 million for UMTRA in FY2014. This amount is $4.22 million higher than the president's request and about $10 million higher than the amounts appropriated in FY2011 and FY2012. UMTRA received substantial stimulus funding ($108.3 million) and approximately $40 million per year in FY2009 and FY2010. However, Congress and the President have generally been reluctant to increase funding for this project.

Because the tailings are a legacy of the Cold War the federal government has an obligation to remediate the site. Since the tailings are located on the banks of the Colorado River, four states are potentially impacted by the contamination, including Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California as well as Mexico.

With the additional funding, UMTRA will be able to run five trains to Crescent Junction per week instead of four, hastening the cleanup of contamination left along the banks of the Colorado River near Moab.