Sunday, March 11, 2018

UTE MOUNTAIN -- Struggle against White Mesa Uranium Mill in Southeast Utah





Watch video interview below:
Yolanda Badback, Ute, about the White Mesa uranium Mill, l'usine de traitement d'uranium de Blanding, Utah from Christine Prat on Vimeo.

STRUGGLE AGAINST THE WHITE MESA URANIUM MILL, ON UTE MOUNTAIN, SOUTH UTAH

Article, video and photos by Christine Prat
Censored News
In French at:
http://www.chrisp.lautre.net/wpblog/?p=4467


The Ute community of Ute Mountain has been struggling for years against a uranium processing mill nearby, the Energy Fuels White Mesa Mill near Blanding, Utah.
They are of course supporting – and are supported by - the struggle of Haul No!, which opposes plans to operate a uranium mine, Canyon Mine, situated near the Grand Canyon National Park and at the foot of Red Butte, which is sacred for the Havasupai. The transport should go through the Navajo Nation, so that Haul No! was mainly initiated by DinĂ© people. The Ute of Ute Mountain do not wish to have more uranium ore brought to the mill. But they mainly want the mill to close, as it has already brought diseases and spoiled the water in their community for years.
The mill was built in 1979 and started its operations in 1980. It was supposed to process uranium from the region, which is, according to the Energy Fuels site, "Central to the highest-grade uranium mines and deposits in the United States…" However, according to the Grand Canyon Trust site, "Built in 1979 to process uranium ore from the Colorado Plateau, the mill has been in the business of importing radioactive waste called "alternate feed material" since 1987. While Energy Fuels recovers and sells some uranium and vanadium from the waste, their primary source of revenue is the fees associated with storing the toxic materials in the mill's tailings impoundments..."
On September 16th, 2017, I met Yolanda Bad Back, Ute of Ute Mountain, at a conference organized by Uplift, an initiative from youth of the Colorado Plateau, supported by the Grand Canyon Trust. What Yolanda said in the interview is unfortunately not outdated, as the license of the mill has been renewed by DEQ-Utah, on February 16, 2018. (See PDF of the letter from DEQ to Energy Fuels on https://documents.deq.utah.gov/waste-management-and-radiation-control/facilities/energy-fuels-white-mesa/DRC-2018-001587.pdf ). On February 27, 2018, Reuters published an article stating that "Energy Fuels wins approval to expand uranium, vanadium mines in Utah" ( https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-mining-uranium/energy-fuels-wins-approval-to-expand-uranium-vanadium-mines-in-utah-idUSKCN1GB2YK ). It mentions other sites than White Mesa, thus more people will be subjected to uranium impacts. Grand Canyon Trust also published an article by Aaron Paul, Staff Attorney, on October 09 2017 ( https://www.grandcanyontrust.org/blog/white-mesa-utah-loses-uranium-mill-waste-lawsuit ), announcing that they had lost their case against Energy Fuels, after three-and-half years struggling: in 2012, Energy Fuels took the mill over from Denison Mines, and then announced that waste pits were emitting more radon gas than regulations allowed. At first, people, including Grand Canyon Trust, thought that Energy Fuels would thus clean those pits. They did not. Thus, Grand Canyon Trust prosecuted them. In September 2017, they lost.

Video Yolanda (Uplift, September 16th 2017)

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Quoted or used info:

The White Mesa Mill is the only fully-licensed and operating conventional uranium mill in the United States.
Central to the highest-grade uranium mines and deposits in the United States

Grand Canyon Trust:
Built in 1979 to process uranium ore from the Colorado Plateau, the mill has been in the business of importing radioactive waste called "alternate feed material" since 1987. While Energy Fuels recovers and sells some uranium and vanadium from the waste, their primary source of revenue is the fees associated with storing the toxic materials in the mill's tailings impoundments – large liquid-covered and solid waste pits that are up to 71 acres in size.
- White Mesa, Utah Loses to Uranium-Mill Waste in Court

"After operating with an expired license for a decade, White Mesa uranium mill may get new permits" Salt Lake Tribune, by Emma Penrod, June 8, 2017
    http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=5374075&itype=CMSID


According to DEQ Utah site, license renewed on February 16, 2018

Reuters, February 27, 2018 Energy Fuels wins approval to expand uranium mines in Utah




Copyright Christine Prat, Censored News 

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