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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The U-S Energy Department is criticizing Monticello for neglecting a park built on top of a shuttered uranium mill.
The mill site was buried under soil because the radon gas, radiation and heavy metals posed an excessive cancer risk to residents of the town.
Federal officials say the city's failure to care for the land risks erosion could uncover radioactive "hot spots" in the southeastern Utah city.
Instead of taking care of the site, an Energy official alleges, the city spent three (M)million dollars in federal money to add nine holes to a nearby golf course and one (M)million to improve the city's water system.
The Energy Department already has stepped in to stave off further erosion, and federal taxpayers could continue paying the bill since Monticello may not be able to afford it.
Monticello officials say the city has tried to keep up the site, but Utah's prolonged drought makes it impossible to grow vegetation to hold the topsoil in place.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)