Cotter Mill Pushing to Move Radioactive Soil to Canon City

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A company that wants to bring radioactive material to southern Colorado is trying to push the plan forward. Officials with the Cotter Mill near Canon City say the State Health Department won’t make a decision and they’re tired of being in limbo.

Cotter Mill says they’ve treied to get state approval to bring in tons of radioactive soil from New Jersey. But the plan does have opponents.

At El Caporal Restaurant in Canon City, most people would rather enjoy lunch, than think about radioactive soil. But they do have their opinions. Florence resident Karen Higdon says, “We don’t need contaminated soils from New Jersey. They don’t want it there for a reason. We don’t want it either.”

Canon City’s Mayor Ben Johnson says he’s not that concerned about the soil itself, but he doesn’t want the town to get a bad reputation, “We don’t want to be known as a dumping ground for other people’s waste.”

Cotter Mill wants bring 470,000 tons of low-level radioactive soil by rail car from New Jersey. Executives say the approval process is taking way too long. They asked the State Health Department for permission nearly two and a half years ago, and still don’t have an answer. Because of that Cotter Mill attorneys have filed a petition with the Colorado Board of Health to expedite the process.

Health officials tell 11 News that this request is extremely unusual, but the Board of Health will hear the petition Wednesday morning in Denver.