TMRA panel applauds Texas legislature for passing uranium mining bill

AUSTIN, TX–(Marketwired – May 28, 2013) –  The Uranium Committee of the Texas Mining and Reclamation Association (TMRA) applauds the Texas Legislature for the passing of House Bill 1079 (HB 1079) on May 23, 2013.

The legislation, authored by State Representative Wayne Smith and sponsored by State Senator Kelly Hancock, will create consistency in the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) regulatory processes, thereby helping ensure a positive future for the state’s uranium mining industry which provides over $300 million in economic impact to the South Texas region.

“I was proud to author HB 1079 which gives the uranium mining industry the regulatory certainty they needed to continue their substantial investment in the Texas economy,” said Representative Smith. “This legislation will continue to protect groundwater for our citizens and will eliminate unnecessary steps in the regulatory process that discourage job and economic growth in Texas.”

The language of HB 1079 reflects the comprehensive and substantial work of Representatives Smith and Eddie Lucio III, Senator Hancock, legislative staff, the staff of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), representatives of the environmental community, and representatives of the uranium mining industry in Texas. HB 1079 establishes language in Texas law focusing on the protection of groundwater quality and quantity throughout the uranium mining regulatory process while also providing the certainty that is necessary for capital investment and employee hiring decisions.

“After much negotiation with the various stakeholders involved, HB 1079 reflects a product that provides much needed regulatory certainty for the uranium mining industry in Texas while continuing to protect our environment,” said Senator Hancock. “HB 1079 ensures economic growth and job creation which is vital to the prosperity of our state and the cities in South Texas.”

The uranium deposits in South Texas are becoming increasingly important in the resurgence of interest in nuclear power production. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, only 7.7 percent of the uranium necessary for operating the nation’s nuclear power plants is provided by uranium mining operations within the U.S. The increased production from uranium mining operations in Texas is crucial to providing a safe, reliable fuel source for domestic nuclear power production, a proven means of providing large quantities of emission-free, affordable base load electricity.

“In striving toward the goal of energy independence, increasing the production of Texas uranium is key,” said Trey Powers, Executive Director of TMRA. “The passage of HB 1079 is a step in the right direction.”

TMRA’s Uranium Committee was formed to promote public understanding of the exploration, mining and production of uranium by raising awareness of responsible, safe uranium recovery, and environmentally protective reclamation methods currently used to develop this valuable resource. The committee is composed of five member companies including Cameco, MULLC, Rio Grande Resources, Uranium Energy Corp and Uranium Resources Inc.