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General Atomics Subsidiary Cotter Corp. Keeps Making Messes

San Diego-based General Atomics, best known for its Predator unmanned aerial vehicles, continues to take heat over uranium mining and milling operations conducted by its subsidiary Cotter Corp. in the state of Colorado.

This week Denver Water officials demanded that the company clean up its defunct Schwartzwalder Mine near Golden, Colorado. The state says the mine is leaking uranium into a nearby creek that feeds into a reservoir that serves as a drinking water supply for Denver.

The company is already responsible for cleanup at an EPA Superfund site in Cañon City, where it formerly operated a uranium mill. We reported on the site over a year ago, but according to the Colorado Independent the firm hadn’t made significant progress as of this August, and was actually trying to avoid testing radioactivity levels in a holding pond on the site because “wooden pallets used to cross the pond are sinking into the toxic mud.”

While Cotter has posted a $1.2 million bond for cleanup at Schwartzwalder, experts say this sum is inadequate to complete the task. Last month the company refused to pay a $55,000 fine for allowing uranium pollution at 1,200 times Colorado’s permissible level into a stream near the milling operation. They’ve instead elected to sue the state for “abusing its discretion” in ordering the company to clean up the pollution its shuttered operations continue to cause.

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Think George Mallory’s take on trying to climb Mount Everest: “because it’s there”

“You were so preoccupied with whether or not you could that you didn’t stop to think if you should.”

San Diego-based General Atomics, best known for its Predator unmanned aerial vehicles, continues to take heat over uranium mining and milling operations conducted by its subsidiary Cotter Corp. in the state of Colorado.

This week Denver Water officials demanded that the company clean up its defunct Schwartzwalder Mine near Golden, Colorado. The state says the mine is leaking uranium into a nearby creek that feeds into a reservoir that serves as a drinking water supply for Denver.

The company is already responsible for cleanup at an EPA Superfund site in Cañon City, where it formerly operated a uranium mill. We reported on the site over a year ago, but according to the Colorado Independent the firm hadn’t made significant progress as of this August, and was actually trying to avoid testing radioactivity levels in a holding pond on the site because “wooden pallets used to cross the pond are sinking into the toxic mud.”

While Cotter has posted a $1.2 million bond for cleanup at Schwartzwalder, experts say this sum is inadequate to complete the task. Last month the company refused to pay a $55,000 fine for allowing uranium pollution at 1,200 times Colorado’s permissible level into a stream near the milling operation. They’ve instead elected to sue the state for “abusing its discretion” in ordering the company to clean up the pollution its shuttered operations continue to cause.

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Comments
2

Will D.: You are the SAN DIEGO READER there is more than enough to report about in SD you don't need to go to Colorado. I thought you focus was local?

Oct. 6, 2011

The ownership of that company is local in San Diego. And the owners are controversial. And what happens in Colo can soon become what happens in San Diego at GA. It is news of local interest and importance.

Oct. 8, 2011

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