|Photo Larry King/by Leona Morgan|
Land targeted for new uranium mining
UNTIL LEGACY WASTE IS CLEANED UP
Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining ENDAUM
Photos by Leona Morgan, Navajo
CHURCHROCK, N.M. — On July 19, 2012, the uranium mining company Hydro Resources Inc. signed an agreement with the Navajo Nation giving the mining company limited access across Navajo Indian Country to its Churchrock Section 8 mine site. The agreement specifically states that Hydro Resources (a subsidiary of Uranium Resources Inc.) cannot begin mining uranium until legacy waste at Section 8 and adjacent Section 17 has been cleaned up.
Hydro Resources announced its intention to mine uranium on Section 8 and Section 17 in 1994. Community members organized themselves as the Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining (ENDAUM) and sought the help of the nonprofit law firm New Mexico Environmental Law Center to keep irresponsible uranium mining from returning to Navajo lands. ENDAUM has kept the fight going for over a decade and Hydro Resources has yet to break ground.
|Photo Leona Morgan|
"Hydro Resources’ parent company, Uranium Resources Inc., is struggling to pay for clean-up at its uranium operations in Texas,” says Eric Jantz, attorney for ENDAUM. “We're skeptical that Hydro Resources will be able to pay for clean-up at Church Rock. In any event, ENDAUM and the people of Church Rock will be watching Hydro Resources and the Navajo Nation to ensure that their land and families are protected.”
Navajo Nation fined Hydro Resources for trespass earlier this year when
the company crossed tribal trust land in order to access its property on
Section 8. The agreement was made to allow Hydro Resources limited access to
Section 8 and require that Hydro Resources submit to Navajo Nation jurisdiction
for its operations in Indian Country as well as clean up the radioactive waste
on its property before any new mining
|Navajo land that uranium miners|
would have to cross
Photo Leona Morgan
“The Navajo Nation doesn't currently have clean-up regulations under its Superfund law — those regulations will have to be written,” says Morgan. “ENDAUM will be engaged in this process to ensure that the highest clean-up standards are adopted to protect the community.”
Larry J. King, ENDAUM Board member, stands at the gate to his residence and points out the area of Section 8 where Hydro Resources (a subsidiary of Uranium Resources Inc.) plans to mine uranium using in situ leach methods.
This photo shows the area of Navajo trust land that HRI must cross in order to access their private land. The mining is planned for an area to the right at the base of the mesa.
This gate and fence delineate State of New Mexico jurisdiction from the 10-15 feet of Navajo Nation jurisdiction that HRI must cross in order to reach its project site in Churchrock, NM.
Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining
Eric JantzStaff Attorney
New Mexico Environmental Law Center
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