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The San Juan Basin Regional Uranium Study was initiated in 1977 by the Secretary of the Interior in his role as trustee over Indian lands and manager of the public domain. The task force was formed from Department of the Interior agencies and the general scientific community. The project was undertaken in response to the need for information generated by the rapid upturn in uranium development in New Mexico in the early 1970's. The Study's goal has been to provide a regional analysis the effects of uranium development on the human and natural environment of northwest New Mexico from the present until the year 2000. It is hoped that this information will aid decision makers, prove useful in environmental impact statement preparation, and inform the general public. The study area is shown in Maps I-I and 1-2. Over the last three and one-half years, more than 150 social and natural scientists and staff have participated in the preparation of this volume and its 70 technical working papers, listed in the References. Working from the Study's projection of future exploration, mine, and mill sites, and tonnage of ore mined and milled, team members analyzed impacts at the regional, subregional and sometimes site-specific levels, depending on available data and methodology. Key impacts found are summarized in Chart XIII-1 (in pocket). The reader is cautioned that uranium development is a "speculative" industry, subject to unpredictable upswings and downturns and consequently difficult to forecast with any assurance of accuracy. Three successive DOE forecasts (1977, 1978, 1980) have changed their predictions of tons of U3O8 to be produced by New Mexico in the year 2000 from 36,000 to 27,000, and finally down to 18,900.

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U.S. Department of the Interior


Uranium, Mining, San Juan Basin

Uranium Development in the San Juan Basin Region: A Report on Environmental Issues