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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Native Americans warn against nuclear waste dumping at Yucca Mountain

Warnings from First Americans: Insidious Changes Are Underway that Will Affect Us All, In These Times, BY STEPHANIE WOODARD , 5 Oct 17, The worst mass shooting in recent years. Escalating threats of nuclear war. Catastrophic hurricanes. Calamities and fear rock the nation these days. Meanwhile, public servants are chartering private jets, and the president’s frenzied tweetstorms create yet more chaos and division. As the tweeter-in-chief seeks sycophantic praise (or anything to divert our attention from Robert Mueller’s accelerating investigation), serious policy changes have been proposed, or are underway, in numerous aspects of American life.

For an update, Rural America In These Times spoke to Native Americans—people whose survival requires being extremely well informed about what all branches of the federal government are up to. From their vantage point as sovereign entities with direct government-to-government relationships with the United States, the tribes have a unique perspective on issues including voting rights, the economy, the extractive industries’ hold over this administration and more.

In each case below, they explain how powerfully and comprehensively this administration’s misguided policies would impinge on each and every one of us. After all, “everything is connected,” as Timbisha Shoshone Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Barbara Durham puts it.

Fire on the mountain

Kim Jong-un can relax! We have already nuked ourselves and are looking into a great way to poison ourselves even more with radioactive waste. In June, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry suggested using the Nevada National Security Site, aka the Nevada Test Site, as an interim waste dump and at the same time reopening licensing procedures for nearby Yucca Mountain. Under Perry’s plan, the mountain, revered as a sacred site by area tribes, would eventually become the permanent repository for spent nuclear fuel and other radioactive material.

The waste would travel via roads and railroads through communities throughout the country as it made its way to Nevada. Once it arrived, its home would be deep inside the earthquake-prone mountain. The DOE’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the project admits that Yucca Mountain may be shaken by “ground motion” and that “beyond-the-design” events could collapse the waste facility.

The Timbisha Shoshone government blasted the Perry proposal, citing the groundwater contamination that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said will likely occur, even without earthquakes. …….

The United States faces one more very large barrier at Yucca Mountain, adds Bob. In 1863, Shoshone tribal heads and United States representatives signed the Treaty of Ruby Valley, which declared friendship between the parties and guaranteed the tribes a homeland that encompasses most of Nevada and massive chunks of Idaho, Oregon, California and Utah. The federal government seemed to forget all about the agreement for decades, though of course there were distractions—the Civil War, Lincoln’s assassination, the Sioux defending their homelands and more. After the United States woke up to the gigantic gap in the national map, it tried unsuccessfully for decades to pay off the Shoshone tribes.

“We respect the treaty,” says Bob. “And we don’t want the nuclear waste.”

DOE offers one bright spot in all the controversy: According to the FEIS, Yucca Mountain is “highly unlikely” to erupt as a volcano.

This land is whose land?

The Trump administration is trying to shovel vast and pristine portions of the United States into the maw of the extractive industries, such as mining concerns and fossil-fuel companies…..

Equality redefined

It’s not just Russians anymore. Attacks against voting rights are proliferating beyond Putin’s pals hacking into state election systems or manipulating public opinion via social media. With the Trump administration’s all-out assault on ballot-box access, non-Natives are getting a taste of what Native people have long experienced, according to OJ Semans, the Rosebud Sioux executive director of Four Directions, a nonprofit that advocates for equal rights.

“To put it bluntly,” Semans says, “as the Trump administration chips away at the ability to cast a ballot, you non-Natives are becoming as ‘equal’ as we are.”……..http://inthesetimes.com/rural-america/entry/20583/tribal-sovereignty-economy-environment-voting-rights-extractive-industry

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October 9, 2017 - Posted by | indigenous issues, USA, wastes

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