Native Americans: ‘We Are The Miner’s Canary’ Indigenous Delegation Sounds Alarm on Homegrown Radioactive Pollution Crisis By Klee Benally, www.cleanupthemines.org, Popular Resistance January 23rd, 2016Washington, DC — From January 25-28, 2016 Indigenous representatives from the Northern Great Plains & Southwest were in the District of Columbia (DC) to raise awareness about radioactive pollution, an invisible national crisis. Millions of people in the United States are being exposed as Nuclear Radiation Victims on a daily basis. Exposure to radioactive pollution has been linked to cancer, genetic defects, Navajo Neuropathy, and increases in mortality. The delegation will speak about the impacts they are experiencing in their communities, which are also affecting other communities throughout the US.
“Native American nations of North America are the miners’ canaries for the United States trying to awaken the people of the world to the dangers of radioactive pollution”, states Charmaine White Face from the South Dakota based organization Defenders of the Black Hills.
South Dakota has 272 Abandoned Uranium Mines (AUMs) which are contaminating waterways such as the Cheyenne River, and desecrating sacred and ceremonial sites. An estimated 169 AUMs are located within 50 miles of Mt. Rushmore where millions of tourists risk exposure to radioactive pollution each year.
The delegation is warning of the toxic legacy caused by more than 15,000 AUMs nationwide, extreme water contamination, surface strip coal mining and power plants burning coal-laced with radioactive particles, radioactive waste from oil well drilling in the Bakken Oil Range, mill tailings, waste storage, and renewed mining threats to sacred places such as Mt. Taylor in New Mexico and Red Butte in Arizona.
Indigenous communities have been disproportionately impacted as approximately 75% of AUMs are located on federal and Tribal lands………https://www.popularresistance.org/native-americans-we-are-the-miners-canary/
Saugeen Nation May Be Final Word in Nuclear Waste Storage Next to Lake Huron, Indian Country Today Konnie LeMay 12/11/15 Lots of voices have been heard about whether to dig a deep geological repository for storing low- and medium-level nuclear waste about half a mile down and less than a mile from Lake Huron.
Canadian and U.S. environmental groups and even members of the U.S. Congress have registered protests; some local municipality councils voted support, and a federally appointed joint review panel recommended licensing it. A decision, originally scheduled for mid-December, has been delayed until March 1, whenOntario Power Generationmay get a decision from the Ministry of the Environment about proceeding with its multimillion dollar, multi-decade project.
But whether a repository is constructed at that site could come down to just one voice —that of the people of the Saugeen First Nation.
“Ontario Power Generation had given us their commitment that they will not proceed unless they have community support. That’s a letter that we have on file,” Saugeen Chief Vernon Roote told Indian Country Today Media Network. Roote publically expressed his opposition in the November 2015Saugeen News, and also noted that he was concerned about simply moving the facility near other First Nations. “We might not be the best of friends when we push nuclear waste on our brothers’ and sisters’ territory.”
Saugeen leaders are determining how to gauge the community voice—by vote at public gatherings or perhaps at the polls—and whether they will favor the facility or not. They’ve held engagement sessions on the issue……
“We have a long list of fears, legitimate fears in our community about these facilities, interaction with our rights, our interests and our way of life,” then–Saugeen Ojibwe Nation Chief Randall Kahgee told Indian Country Today Media Network in 2013…….
Opponents of the deep underground repository point to its proximity to Lake Huron—less than one mile.
For the Saugeen and other nearby First Nations, water is the point. “It’s a natural reaction to say no to anything dangerous like nuclear waste, so there is a lot of negative,” said Roote. “We live so close to the lake that there’s going to have be some studies done in regards to the water and the dangers to water. That’s an example of how much work is needed.”…..
Roote said the Saugeen Nation might do its own studies and that other First Nations should be consulted. The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke, for example, has come out against the proposed DGR and in aMay press releasesupported a Saugeen fight against the proposal.
“We’ve been keeping close watch on this situation, since the failed plan to ship the nuclear waste through the Seaway was announced a few years ago,” Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke Environment Portfolio Chief Clinton Phillips said in the statement. “While the Bruce Power plant is hundreds of kilometers from Kahnawà:ke, any potential nuclear contamination problem could nonetheless affect not only us but also the 40 million-plus people who use the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence River for drinking water.”…..http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/12/11/saugeen-nation-may-be-final-word-nuclear-waste-storage-next-lake-huron-162731
Aboriginal women reaffirm fight against nuclear waste dump in South Australia ABC Radio National, The World Today By Natalie Whiting 16 Oct 15 The first shipment of Australia’s nuclear waste to be returned from re-processing in France has now left a French port, and will arrive on our shores by the end of the year. The return of the 25 tonnes of nuclear waste is putting renewed pressure on the Federal Government to find a location for a permanent waste dump.
The shipment began its journey just a day after senior Aboriginal women gathered in Adelaide to mark their fight against a proposed dump in South Australia in the 1990s.
The women say they will fight against any new move to put the waste on their land…..
SA Aboriginal women remember waste dump victory A Federal Government plan to build a
nuclear waste dump in the South Australian outback in 1998 attracted fierce opposition, especially among local Aboriginal people.
An event in Adelaide last night celebrated the work of a group of women called kupa piti kungka tjuta, who campaigned against the dump. Emily Austin from Coober Pedy was one of them. (centre in picture)
The women campaigned for six years until a Federal Court challenge from the South Australian government put an end to the dump. Ms Austin said she could remember the day the court found in South Australia’s favour.
“I was out in the bush hunting and I heard it on the radio in the Toyota. We were all screaming, ‘We won’.
“All the kungkas (women) were happy.”
While the Federal Government is in the midst of a voluntary process for finding a site for a dump, South Australia’s outback is still seen as an ideal location.
The South Australian Government’s attitude to the industry has been shifting.
It has launched a royal commission to investigate possible further involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle.The royal commission is looking at everything from mining uranium, processing, waste storage and nuclear power.
The organiser of last night’s event, Karina Lester, is the granddaughter of one of the women who campaigned and her father was blinded by the British nuclear tests at Maralinga half a century ago.
She said the Aboriginal people in South Australia’s north have a long and tortured history with the nuclear industry. “Maralinga’s had a huge impact because people speak from first-hand experience,” she said.
“People like the amazing kupa piti kungka tjuta, many of those old women who are no longer with us today, they were there the day the ground shook and the black mist rolled.
“It’s an industry that doesn’t sit comfortably with Anungu community.”
Ms Lester said it was good to see the royal commission consulting with people before a decision is made.”Credit to the royal commission that they’ve made an effort to engage with a broader community of Aboriginal communities,” she said.
“But how many of those Anangu are really understanding he technicality of this royal commission and what industry really means?” Ms Austin said she was ready to fight any future attempts to set up a waste dump in the region.
“Oh yeah, I’ve still got fight yet. They might stop yet, they might listen, I dunno,” she said. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-16/aboriginal-women-fight-against-nuclear-waste-dump-in-sa/6861012
Grand Canyon Monument Would Make Uranium Ban Permanent http://www.fronterasdesk.org/content/10147/grand-canyon-monument-would-make-uranium-ban-permanent By Laurel Morales October 13, 2015 Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva introduced legislation Monday that would preserve and restore sacred lands, the watershed and the environment north and south of Grand Canyon National Park. The Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument Act would set aside 1.7 million acres of public land.
Eleven tribes connected to the Grand Canyon support the bill. And if passed, they would help manage the monument.
Havasupai council member Carletta Tilousi told a group of reporters her tribe, that lives at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, is at the front lines of groundwater contamination.
“We the Havasupai would like to keep our canyon home clean of no uranium mining,” Tilousi said. “We’d like to see our water remain clean of no uranium mining. We’d like to see our children live in a clean environment, go to our sacred mountains in peace and pray and do our offerings.” This announcement comes at a time when the National Park Service says Energy Fuels has plans to reopen an old mine and extract uranium on Red Butte, what is considered a sacred site by the Havasupai Tribe.
Supporters of the legislation say it will be difficult to get the act through Congress.
The feds call it “environmental justice.”
Western Shoshones say it’s really “environmental racism.”
Whatever words apply, a challenge by American Indian tribes on that subject in the latest Nuclear Regulatory Commission report for disposing nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain could slam the brakes on the project.
This month, because of a 2013 federal appeals court decision, the commission rejuvenated proceedings on the Department of Energy’s license application to build and operate a repository for the nation’s highly radioactive waste at the mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
The project was mothballed in 2010 when the Obama administration decided not to fund it and instead pursue another path that favors a willing state or tribe to host a repository. Neither Nevada nor the Shoshones want it.
The NRC’s draft, 173-page supplemental environmental impact report released in August shows radioactive particles from the planned repository would contaminate groundwater. That means it also would affect purity of traditional American Indian springs in Death Valley, Calif.
While that translates to only a “small fraction” increase in the dose people receive from normal background radiation, according to the NRC staff’s report, project opponents say it could be enough to disqualify the site for licensing on grounds of environmental injustice.
That’s because burying 77,000 tons of highly radioactive defense wastes and spent fuel from power reactors there coupled with past episodes of fallout from nuclear weapons tests amounts to “environmental racism,” according to the Western Shoshone and Timbisha Shoshone tribes and a Reno lawyer.
Western Shoshone Ian Zabarte, a board member of the Native Community Action Council, a party with standing in the NRC’s licensing proceedings, was blunt in his public comments at an NRC panel meeting this month in Las Vegas.
“From our perspective the processes employed by the DOE is environmental racism designed to systematically dismantle the living ‘lifeways’ of the Western Shoshone people in relation to our land,” he said.
Timbisha Shoshone tribe member, Joe Kennedy of Fish Lake Valley, backed up Zabarte’s claim that the heritage of low-income Native Americans will be compromised if nuclear waste is entombed in Yucca Mountain — a more likely prospect under a Republican-controlled Congress that could try to reverse the Obama administration’s mothballing of the project. DOE has spent roughly 25 years and $15 billion trying to determine whether the site and design are safe for long-term nuclear waste storage.
At the Sept. 15 meeting, Kennedy told a story about how his father taught him that all the springs that his tribe relies on for traditional and subsistence purposes are connected.
Contaminating the purity of one downstream of the planned Yucca Mountain repository site could pollute all of them, he said.
“The Earth can live without us. But I don’t think we can live without the Earth,” he told the NRC panel.
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe Chairman George Gholson said the tribe will submit comments on the NRC’s report. “The tribe vehemently opposes the storage of radioactive waste in our backyard,” he said Thursday.
Radioactive particles that will cause that “small fraction” dose increase to humans many years in the future is not background radiation that exists worldwide from natural sources such as cosmic rays and granite formations.
In the future, among the most hazardous radioactive particles to human health that will eventually escape Yucca Mountain is neptunium-237 — a mobile, artificially produced alpha particle emitter with a half-life of 2.14 million years, the time it takes for half its atoms to decay………
“They lied about the health effects of atmospheric testing. They lied about radiation on the ground when they were going to set off that 700-ton bunker-buster bomb. Now they’re lying about the type of radiation that is going to be dispersed from nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain,” Hager said Wednesday.
Richard Miller, an expert witness in the Divine Strake case, said the NRC report’s conclusion on “environmental justice” misses the mark.
“It’s a very clever statement that obscures the facts,” said Miller, an industrial hygienist who has written six books on nuclear testing and co-authored three peer-reviewed papers.
“The first thing they’re doing is trying to tie particulate exposure with background radiation. They’re apples and oranges, actually apples and toxic oranges. These can wind up inside you, and that’s a (cancer) risk increase,” he said Thursday.
Contact Keith Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0308. Find him on Twitter: @KeithRogers2 http://www.reviewjournal.com/politics/american-indians-accuse-nrc-environmental-racism
Oglala Sioux object to uranium mine cultural survey BY KERRI REMPP / CHADRON DAILY RECORD , 1 Sep 15, CRAWFORD — A full week of testimony on renewing Crow Butte Resources’ uranium mining license wrapped up last week with objections by the Lakota Nation to a planned cultural and archeological survey.
Crow Butte’s operating license expired in 2007, and it has been operating on a temporary license since then while the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reviewed its renewal application. The NRC granted the renewal last fall, but because the Oglala Sioux Tribe and 11 other people and organizations objected, the Atomic Safety Board scheduled its own hearings and will render a final decision at a later date.
Friday’s testimony concerned cultural and archeological surveys at the Crow Butte mine site near Crawford. The Oglala Sioux Tribe contended that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission failed to include its members in discussions and did not allow for an adequate survey of the site…….
Testimony throughout the rest of the week focused mainly on water safety, both in the Nebraska Panhandle and on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Charmaine White Face testified for the Oglala Sioux and consolidated interveners that samples from five reservation wells taken in 2014 show, in her opinion, an unusual level of mined uranium and thorium, though she admitted she had no evidence that the contamination was caused by Crow Butte Resources. Likewise, Debra White Plume testified, “I have no evidence in terms of western science that the contamination is from Crow Butte Resources, but I know what I know.”
Additional testimony will be heard during a telephonic hearing at a later date. Crow Butte Resources Inc. is owned by Cameco Resources, America’s biggest uranium mining company, based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. http://journalstar.com/news/state-and-regional/nebraska/oglala-sioux-object-to-uranium-mine-cultural-survey/article_2deb035c-8686-54b4-a6ce-587911b303bd.html
This uranium project could haunt the Grand Canyon region for decades to come,” said Katie Davis with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Uranium mining leaves a highly toxic legacy that endangers human health, wildlife and the streams and aquifers that feed the Grand Canyon. It’s disappointing to see the Forest Service prioritizing the extraction industry over the long-term protection of a place as iconic as the Grand Canyon.”
‘Beyond Unacceptable’: Judge OKs Uranium Mine at Grand Canyon s underground aquifers. Slamming ruling, conservationists warn of irreversible contamination of the canyon’s underground aquifers.By Reynard Loki / AlterNet August 12, 2015 In June, the Grand Canyon was named one of the “Most Endangered Places” in America by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. But the designation came just two months too late to possibly influence U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell. In April, he denied a request by the Havasupai tribe and a coalition of conservation groups to halt new uranium mining next to Grand Canyon National Park, just six miles from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.
“We are very disappointed with the ruling by Judge Campbell in the Canyon Mine case,” said Havasupai Chairman Rex Tilousi. “We believe that the National Historic Preservation Act requires the Forest Service to consult with us and the other affiliated tribes before they let the mining company damage Red Butte, one of our most sacred traditional cultural properties.” He said that the Havasupai Tribal Council would appeal the decision.
Cleaning Up Contamination? Next to Impossible Continue reading
Nunavut hunters want feds to stay out of uranium mine decision ‘This would be a political disaster for Nunavut, and for Canada,’ Kivalliq Wildlife Board By Sima Sahar Zerehi, for CBC News Posted: Aug 11, 2015 Hunters in Nunavut say if the federal government overrides a recent uranium mining decision from the Nunavut Impact Review Board if will seriously erode the confidence of the Inuit in the regulatory system.
“This would be a political disaster for Nunavut, and for Canada,” states the Kivalliq Wildlife Board in a letter they sent to the minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development yesterday.
“Residents and institutions of Nunavut have spent considerable time and resources participating in the NIRB screening and review of Areva’s proposal,” states the letter, “If you reject the NIRB report and recommendation, residents of Nunavut will question what the point of their participation in this process was.”
This spring, the Nunavut Impact Review Board issued its final report on a proposed uranium mine near Baker Lake. The report rejected Areva’s proposed Kiggavik mine on the grounds that it lacks a definite start date and a development schedule. The review board concluded that without this information it was impossible to assess the environmental and social impacts of the uranium mine.
The French mining company Areva, has asked the minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development to reject that decision. And the region’s hunters and trappers don’t want to see that happen.
“For a company that says they are in support of Inuit organizations to turn around and ask for this was very offensive to our organizations,” says Leah Muckpah, the regional coordinator of the Kivalliq Wildlife Board.
Muckpah says the hunters in Nunavut see the board’s rejection of Areva’s proposal as “a gain to the region.” She says without a clear start date and a land use plan to protect the caribou calving ground, the risks of the project are too high……..
The $2.1 billion project calls for one underground and four open-pit mines just west of Baker Lake.
Areva is in financial turmoil. With the declining market for uranium, even if the project gets the green light, mining may not start for another 10 to 20 years. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/nunavut-hunters-want-feds-to-stay-out-of-uranium-mine-decision-1.3186753
The Cree Nation urges the Quebec Government to heed the BAPE’s recommendations regarding the uranium sector in northern Quebec http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1572491/the-cree-nation-urges-the-quebec-government-to-heed-the-bape-s-recommendations-regarding-the-uranium-sector-in-northern-quebec
NEMASKA, EEYOU ISTCHEE, QC, July 17, 2015 /CNW/ – The Cree Nation welcomes the recommendations of the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) regarding the uranium sector in Quebec. The BAPE’s report was released to the public today, following a year-long, province-wide inquiry and public consultation process, which included the largest number of public submissions ever received by the BAPE.
“The BAPE’s report confirms what the Cree Nation has long maintained: that uranium development poses unique and significant risks for our lands, our environment, our communities and our future generations,” said Grand Chief Dr.Matthew Coon Come. “The report reflects what we observed in the consultation process, that the overwhelming majority of the population, in Cree communities and across Quebec, oppose uranium development.”
“We have said from the start that once Quebecers learn the facts about uranium, the risks it poses, and the questions that cannot be adequately answered, they would join with us in opposing uranium development,” Grand Chief Coon Come continued. “The Cree Nation greatly appreciates the support we have received on this issue from other Aboriginal peoples and from individuals, groups and municipalities across Quebec.”
In its report, the BAPE Commission concluded that there remains significant uncertainty and gaps in existing scientific and technological knowledge regarding uranium mining, the management of uranium waste, and the associated health and environmental impacts. In regard to the territory subject to the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, including the Cree Nation’s territory of Eeyou Istchee, the BAPE Commission recommended that social acceptability must be a priority consideration in any future decisions regarding uranium development.
“The social acceptability of proposed development projects in Eeyou Istchee is a fundamental part of the successful relationship of partnership and respect between the Crees and Quebec,” Grand Chief Coon Come noted. “The BAPE has recognized that the special legal framework and social institutions that govern in Eeyou Istchee must play a central role in legitimate decision-making about development in our territory.”
The Cree Nation’s stand against uranium development began in 2008 when Strateco Resources applied to the Quebec Government to pursue the Matoush advanced uranium exploration project. Located on the family hunting grounds of the Cree Nation of Mistissini, at the crest of two major watersheds that bring water throughout Eeyou Istchee, the Matoush project was the most advanced uranium project to date in Quebec. The Government of Quebechas since denied the required permit for the Matoush project, due largely to its lack of social acceptability amongst the Cree Nation.
For more information on the Cree Nation’s position on uranium development, please visit:http://standagainsturanium.com/
Ontario First Nations demand a say over nuclear waste storage GLORIA GALLOWAY OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail, May. 21 2015, First Nations in Northern Ontario say municipalities are opening their doors to the federal organization that is looking for a place to dump nuclear waste but most of the sites being proposed lie outside municipal boundaries on traditional treaty land.
Isadore Day, the Lake Huron Regional Grand Chief, has written to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to ask her government to talk directly with First Nations and to “come to a fair and acceptable resolution” about the location of the $24-billion Deep Geological Repository for the waste generated by nuclear reactors.
Environmental groups and some local residents reacted angrily earlier this month when a federal review panel agreed that a repository far below ground near Kincardine, Ont., could be used to store low-and intermediate radioactive nuclear waste including clothing and used parts.
But the hunt for a place to permanently store used fuel bundles, a far more contentious form of the hazardous material, continues. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has narrowed its search to nine municipalities – three in the southwestern part of Ontario and six in the North.
Those municipalities have all told the organization they are willing to explore the possibility of being a host site for the repository that will take decades to build and will store the spent nuclear fuel bundles for 400,000 years or more until they are safely non-toxic. Having the site nearby will mean increased jobs and improved infrastructure for a community.
All of the municipalities that finished the preliminary phase of the assessment received a $400,000 “sustainability and well-being” payment from the NWMO for showing leadership on a difficult national public policy issue.
But, even though it is the municipalities that are being consulted and compensated, most of the sites being considered for the dump lie well outside of their jurisdictions on traditional First Nations territory, said Mr. Day.
“The actual sites being looked at are on treaty lands and municipalities have no say about what happens on those lands,” Mr. Day says in his letter to Ms. Wynne. “This matter is a discussion that must take place between treaty partners.”………Mr. Day said the site selection process has been “fraught with controversy” and will not result in the support that is being sought from First Nations. “The social contract is not with municipalities,“ he said. “It’s with treaty nations.“http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ontario-first-nations-demand-a-say-over-nuclear-waste-storage/article24540670/
Ontario Power Generation waste dump plan does not have the necessary approval of area First Nations.
“Of course we are opposed to it,” Saugeen First Nation Chief Vernon Roote said Thursday. “In our community that I represent … there are no members that are agreeable to the burial at the site at this time.”
The proposal by Ontario Power Generation cleared a key hurdle this week when a federal review panel approved the plan.
OPG continued to insist Thursday approval by the Saugeen Objiway Nation is necessary for the project to proceed.
“As we have stated in the past and we will state again, we will not build this project without SON support,” OPG spokesperson Neal Kelly said.
Roote said he’s concerned about possible contamination of the Great Lakes. “If something were to happen with the disposal or the leakage of nuclear waste, I wouldn’t want to be drinking the water downstream,” he said. “That means the balance of Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and also anyone drinking from those lakes, even into the U.S.A.”
OPG wants to bury low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste from Ontario’s three nuclear plants in a shaft deeper than the CN tower is tall at the Bruce nuclear site near Kincardine, Ont.
The site is in the traditional territory of the Saugeen Objiway Nation that includes Saugeen and Chippewas of Nawash First Nations. Chippewas of Nawash Chief Arlene Chegahno couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.
Federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq has 120 days to review the environmental assessment report before deciding if she will authorize the panel to issue the licence to prepare the site for the so-called deep geological repository.
In its report, the panel concluded the project is “not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.”
That conclusion dismayed Erika Simpson, an associate professor of international relations at Western University in London, Ont., who has written about the proposal.
“I can’t understand why they can claim the science says it’s permissible. The testimony, which I’ve read, had many scientists, many geologists, questioning the science,” she said…………http://www.torontosun.com/2015/05/08/first-nations-oppose-ont-nuclear-waste-burial-project
fragile communities continue to live amid the poisoned wells and contaminated earth, and the uranium riddled sagebrush flats are home for the next generation of Navajo children.
Abandoned Uranium Mines Plague Navajo Nation, Earth Island Journal BY SONIA LUOKKALA – MAY 5, 2015 Mining companies left behind a legacy of poisoned wells and contaminated earth
We are in Diné Bikéyah, land of the Navajo. “………The incidence of Navajo neuropathy is five times
higher on the western side of the Navajo reservation than on the eastern side. Some researchers believe this discrepancy is linked to the land: On the western side, the mines were mostly tunnels, whereas in the west they were primarily open pits. After the uranium companies left, the unfilled pits started to fill with water. Some, as deep as 130 feet, eventually formed into small lakes. Unsuspecting Navajos and their livestock use the contaminated water for drinking.
A 1990 study of Navajo neuropathy ruled out water contamination as a possible cause of the disease………As the Los Angeles Times also reported, in 1986, Thomas Payne an environmental health officer for Indian Health Services, along with a National Park Service ranger, took water samples at 48 sites surrounding Cameron, AZ, a town in Navajo Nation. These samples revealed uranium levels in wells as high as 139 picocuries per liter. In abandoned pits, the levels were as high as 4,024 pinocuries. The EPA limit for safe drinking water is 20 picocuries per liter. ….. Continue reading
U.S. to evaluate uranium mine cleanups on Navajo land -Justice Dept http://news.yahoo.com/u-evaluate-uranium-mine-cleanups-navajo-land-justice-221208324.html By Sandra Maler WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government will put $13.2 million into an environmental trust to pay for evaluations of 16 abandoned uranium mines on land belonging to the Navajo Nation in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, the Justice Department said on Friday.
The Justice Department said the agreement was part of its increased focus on environmental and health concerns in Indian country, “as well as the commitment of the Obama Administration to fairly resolve the historic grievances of American Indian tribes and build a healthier future for their people.”
The investigation of the sites is a necessary step before final cleanup decisions can be made, it said in a statement, adding the work would be subject to the approval of both the Navajo Nation and the Environmental Protection Agency.
“The site evaluations focus on the mines that pose the most significant hazards and will form a foundation for their final cleanup,” Assistant Attorney General John Cruden of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division said in the statement.
The Navajo Nation encompasses more than 27,000 square miles (70,000 square km) within Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.
The region’s unique geology makes it rich in uranium, a radioactive ore which has been in high demand since the development of atomic power and weapons at the close of World War Two.
Some four million tons of uranium ore were extracted during mining operations within the Navajo Nation from 1944 to 1986, the department of justice said.
The last uranium mine on the Navajo Nation was shut down in 1986.
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly said in a statement he welcomed the agreement. “We have always said the U.S. is responsible for the cleanup of uranium legacy sites,” he said.
Ghillar Michael Anderson, leader of the Euahlayi people and ambassador of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, wrote an open letter to the United Nations on March 3, in which he states that the proposed closures of remote communities are to open up the land for mining.
“For the Western Australian government to now dispossess and displace the peoples of these homelands is designed to facilitate an expeditious expansion of mining interests and other developments,” he wrote.
The announcement of the closures coincides with the introduction of the Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Bill by the Barnett government last November. The bill, which is about to be debated in state parliament, proposes changes to the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972. These simplify the process of gaining permission to develop Aboriginal sites, as the chief executive of the DAA will have sole discretion over whether to deem heritage protection. This would continue a DAA trend over recent years of site assessment which is beneficial to industry.
Are Mining Interests Behind Western Australian Remote Aboriginal Community Closures?http://www.vice.com/en_au/read/are-mining-interests-behind-western-australian-remote-aboriginal-community-closures March 20, 2015 by Paul Gregoir Yesterday, 18,000 people turned out at rallies across Australia in protest of the Western Australian government’s proposal to close up to 150 remote Aboriginal communities.
The move will see municipal and essential services provided by the government cut. Premier Colin Barnett announced the closures in November last year, claiming many of these communities are economically unviable. Continue reading
Manitoba First Nation leader criticised – accepted money from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization
Harper, who is head of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), recently signed a $312,689 agreement with the NWMO. Harper told CBC the money is going toward educating his citizens about the risks involved with nuclear waste, and was not accepted in an agreement to store it.
“As a matter of fact there is legislation that was put in place in 1987 that there will be no nuclear waste in Manitoba,” Harper said.
But a group of chiefs from the Swampy Cree Tribal Council (SCTC) — which is politically aligned with MKO — said just signing the agreement contravenes a 2014 moratorium against the storing of nuclear waste in Manitoba.
In a March 11, 2015 press release, the Swampy Cree chiefs said they’ve “lost all faith in MKO Grand Chief David Harper. His signing of this deal with NWMO without our knowledge or consent is a major breach of trust.”
Those chiefs say they’re pulling out of MKO until the grand chief has been removed from office — something Harper refuses to do.
“I’m doing my job to protect First Nations,” said Harper.
Since 2000, the NWMO has been trying to find sites to store radioactive waste produced by nuclear electricity plants in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. They want to store the nuclear waste deep under the ground, in the rock of the Canadian Shield.
The NWMO recently ruled out Creighton, Sask. as a potential host site.
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