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State delays action on air quality permits for uranium mines

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State officials are delaying action on air quality permits for three uranium mines after one test revealed a spike in soil contamination.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality says uranium levels outside the Pinenut Mine near Fredonia were four times higher than the background levels.

The agency says the levels don’t present an immediate health risk. But officials are asking the mining company, Energy Fuels Resources Inc., to step up dust control measures and sampling.

The Pinenut Mine isn’t currently operating, but uranium ore is stored on site to be transported to a Utah mill.

Energy Fuels also owns the Canyon and EZ mines in northern Arizona.

The Environment Department says it will reopen a public comment period for the three permits after Energy Fuels satisfies requirements for dust control.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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