The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has resumed its Uranium Leasing Program (ULP) in southwestern Colorado. DOE created ULP seven decades ago to ensure an ongoing domestic uranium source for national defense and energy programs.

ULP manages 31 lease tracts covering approximately 25,000 acres in the Uravan Mineral Belt, in southwestern Colorado. DOE Office of Legacy Management resumed the program after completing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) that resulted in a Record of Decision (ROD) that satisfied the requirements established by the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

Although the PEIS was completed in 2014, a U.S. District Court ordered DOE to provide additional information and analysis prior to lifting the order. The court prohibited DOE from approving any further lease activities, until the agency performed an adequate environmental analysis and issued a ROD — all of which needed to be reviewed and approved by the court at a later date. On March 18, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martinez officially dissolved the injunction and ordered the case closed, ending a seven-year hiatus of the program.

The new environmental evaluation was central to the court’s decision in allowing the leasing program to resume in a manner that protects public health and the environment. The leasing program evaluation determined that continuing the program will result in "negligible to moderate potential environmental impacts and will provide access to a domestic source of uranium.”