Renewed Uranium Mining Carries Risks for Western Colorado – 08.17.2009

“Our research clearly shows a new economy coming to life in Western Colorado reversing a long-time dependence on jobs created by mining and the extractive industries,” said Joe Marlow, senior economist with the Sonoran Institute. “What we are seeing in Mesa County represents a continuing trend in the West where tourism, outdoor recreation, second-home building activity and entrepreneurs have taken root to contribute to a more sustainable economy.”

Marlow acknowledged that new uranium mining activity can create jobs, but it comes with risk. “As new proposals for mining emerge, communities need to understand that it is not necessarily a net economic gain,” said Marlow. “There is a real potential for uranium mining to disrupt tourism and outdoor recreation activity with truck activity, blighted landscapes, air pollution and general environmental degradation.” said Marlow.

Marlow indicated that although mining employment and spending cannot be discounted in the West, the boom-and-bust cycles of the extractive industries can wreak havoc on communities. “The roller coaster ride for communities dependent on mining decreases their financial stability, undercuts their attractiveness for business investment and tears the community fabric with unemployment and uncertainty.”

The report can be found on the Sonoran Institute’s website at

Founded in 1990, the Sonoran Institute is shaping the future of the West by informing and enabling community decisions and public policies that respect the land and people of Western North America.