CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – Two U.S. government agencies have signed a memorandum of understanding that leaves state regulators in charge of regulating groundwater pollution from uranium mining. It’s the latest move by the Trump administration to bolster the ailing domestic uranium industry.
The agreement between the EPA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was signed in Cheyenne, the top uranium-producing state.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the location was perfect because “Wyoming knows how to balance environmental conservation and energy production as well as any state in the country.”
The EPA under President Obama was poised to take over groundwater regulation at uranium mines, a proposal rescinded under Trump. EPA-NRC agreement says the EPA won’t stipulate how uranium mines should comply with NRC requirements.
The NRC has agreements with 39 states including Nebraska, Wyoming, and South Dakota that give them primary oversight of uranium mining.
The EPA’s Wheeler used the trip to also meet at the Capitol in Cheyenne with Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon and top officials of the state Dept of Environmental Quality on important environmental issues including Wyoming’s self-audit agreement – the first state to have one with the EPA.