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Moapa Band of Paiute Indians fear a nuclear waste dump being imposed at Yucca Mountain

The Battle Continues To Stop Yucca Mountain From Becoming A Nuclear Waste Dump Not far from the site of 40 years of nuclear weapons testing, a proposed long-term nuclear waste dump draws opposition from the Shoshone and Paiute Nations, environmental activists and even Nevada state officials. MintPress News, By Derrick Broze February 18, 2016 The Moapa River Reservation is downwind of the Nevada Test Site, and locals have long maintained that radiation has harmed the health of the local population.

“We hope that that stuff [radiation] went up in the air and blew over us,” Vernon Lee, a Southern Paiute with theYucca-Mt, who has lived on the Moapa River Reservation since 1973, told MintPress News. “We know that we got some because we are just east of the testing, but we hope we got less.”

Areas around the test site, particularly those located “downwind,” saw increases in cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma, thyroid cancer and brain tumors, throughout the entire span of the nuclear weapons testing. A 1984 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found increased rates of canceramong Mormon families as far away as southwestern Utah, for example.

For Lee, the decades of environmental degradation and risks to human health reflect a much larger issue. The problem, he believes, is that the U.S. government does not recognize the tribal nations as equals. Officially, the U.S. Department of Interior states that the U.S. government operates under a “federal Indian trust responsibility,”  a legal obligation that includes “moral obligations of the highest responsibility and trust” toward Native American tribes.

“To me, that doesn’t exist. It’s a word on paper, but I don’t think I have ever seen it put into practice,” Lee said.

“Trust responsibility, to me, is that government-to-government relationship that they are supposed to have with the tribes. It’s ridiculous the way the U.S. government treats the sovereign tribes. It’s very unfair.”

Native communities have a long history of resources discovered beneath the reservations being exploited by the U.S. government and supported industries. These communities have suffered exposure to dangerous substances through uranium mining and milling. In Nevada, the lives of generations of Western Shoshone and Moapa Paiute have become intertwined with the history of nuclear weapons testing and, more recently, the disposal of nuclear waste from faraway power plants.

“There are multiple problems. Moving the waste is a problem. High risk, unnecessary risk. If the company is ever going to benefit from nuclear power they should process it and store it themselves. Stop shipping it across the country and exposing the population to a potential disaster,” Lee said, alluding to the controversial long-term nuclear waste repository planned for Yucca Mountain, about a three hours’ drive from the reservation……….. http://www.mintpressnews.com/the-battle-continues-to-stop-yucca-mountain-from-becoming-a-nuclear-waste-dump/213976/

February 19, 2016 - Posted by | environment, indigenous issues, USA, wastes

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