Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

September 4, 2023

Toxic Air Resulted in Cancer for Navajo, Apache and Western Shoshone

This is what Barrick Gold did to Western Shoshone's sacred Bald Mountain. Western Shoshone Carrie Dann said, "This is where the seasons of the year were named, in the time before people were here." Now, the Nevada gold mines, a joint operation of Barrick and Newmont gold mines, are a leading cause of cancer from air pollution in the U.S., ProPublic reveals with new data.

Copper and Gold Mining, and Coal-Fired Power Plants,  Resulted in Cancer for Navajo, Apache, and Western Shoshone 

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News, September 4, 2023

A copper smelter poisoning the air of Apaches, the coal-fired power plants on the Navajo Nation, and gold mining on Western Shoshone land, are among the top causes of cancer from air pollution in the United States, according to a new report, Poison in the Air, by ProPublica.

The Freeport McMoran copper smelter in Miami, Arizona -- located between the San Carlos Apache Nation, and Apaches Sacred Oak Flat -- is the third in the United States for producing toxic air pollution causing cancer. The poison air means the central Arizona community of Miami has ten times the EPA's acceptable risk of cancer. Apaches are now in federal court battling both the mining industry, and the Biden administration, to stop another copper mine nearby at Oak Flat which would destroy their ceremonial place.

Freeport-McMoran copper smelt poisoning Apache communities in central Arizona, ProPublica reports.

At the top of the list for air polluters causing cancer in the U.S. are the petrochemical refineries in the Houston area and the copper mine polluting Apache communities. Source: ProPublica.

ProPublica mapped the spread of cancer-causing chemicals from thousands of sources of hazardous air pollution across the country between 2014 and 2018. The report, with an interactive map, shows how toxic air resulted in cancer in nearby towns.

The coal-fired power plant, San Juan Generating Station, near Shiprock, N.M., on the Navajo Nation, now decommissioned, is one of the top causes of cancer in the United States, because of the toxic air it produced, according to a new report from ProPublica.

Corridor of Cancer: Navajo Nation's Coal-fired Power Plants and Bordertown Refineries

The San Juan Generating Station on the Navajo Nation is one of the top causes of cancer, because of the toxic air pollution it released. The decommissioned coal-fired power plant is located between Shiprock and Farmington, NM, on the Navajo Nation. It is rated number #13 in the United States for producing poisonous air resulting in cancer. It supplied electricity to the Southwest, while many Navajos lacked electricity, with massive electric transmission lines passing over the homes of Dine'.

The cancer risks are even greater here, because in the Four Corners, San Juan was one of the four top cancer-causing industries -- the coal-fired power plant at Page, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation, combined with oil refineries near Gallup and Bloomfield, NM -- to produce an enormous corridor of cancer. 

The top air polluters causing cancer in the U.S. from 2014--2018 include San Juan Generating Station, on the Navajo Nation. It is ranked the third in the nation responsible for cancer from air pollution. Source: ProPublica.

The coal-fired power plant Navajo Generating Station, near Page, Arizona, which used the coal ripped from Black Mesa by Peabody Coal, also caused cancer before it was shut down. Navajos, Hopi and Ute are among those who breathed the poison air from Navajo Generating Station along the Arizona and Utah border.

Refineries in Bloomfield and Gallup, New Mexico -- are poisoning the air for Navajos, Jicarilla Apache, and Zuni Pueblo. The top polluters were Western Refinery east of Gallup and Western Refining Terminals in Bloomfield, New Mexico. These refineries are among the top sources of air pollution in the United States resulting in cancer.

Coal-fired power plants and refineries poisoned the air for Navajos in the Four Corners region, resulting in cancer, according to data from 2014--2018. Source: ProPublica.

Western Shoshone Carl Bad Bear Sampson and walkers on the Longest Walk 2008 protest Newmont mining at its Denver headquarters. Photo Brenda Norrell.

Gold Mining: Gold Mining Produced Cancer Cluster for Western Shoshone

The gold mining of Barrick and Newmont, and the Jerritt Canyon Mine, on Western Shoshone ancestral lands in Nevada, long protested by Western Shoshone, is a leading cause of cancer from air pollution in the United States, according to the new report by ProPublica.

Before she passed to the Spirit World, Western Shoshone Carrie Dann led the movement to protect Western Shoshone lands from gold mining.

Carrie and Mary Dann, 1979, by Ilka Hartmann

“Think as an Indigenous Person, how it must hurt our Mother to have her ripped apart by gold mining companies and others that drill for things under her skin and through her body," Dann said in 2012. "It’s sad to look at these things and then try not to believe this is really happening, but it is."

"We don’t look at land as real estate. We look at it as a Mother, the Mother of Life. And not only to the ones with two legs, but all that live on earth, eight legs, wings, fins, this is the Mother of Life."

“My grandmother told us, as we are dependent on the land, all life comes from land. Our food, clothing, everything that we have today comes from the land," Dann said.

Gold mines of Barrick and Newmont, and the Jerritt Canyon Mine owned by First Majestic in Elko County, poisoned the air for Western Shoshone and Paiute in the region. ProPublica data shows the high rate of cancer for those living near the gold mines.

Refineries in Houston and Cancer Alley in Louisiana Top Cancer Causers

At the top of the list for air polluters causing cancer in the United States are the petrochemical plants and refineries in the Houston area and along the Texas-Louisiana border.

Cancer Alley in southern Louisiana, from Baton Rouge to New Orleans along the Gulf Coast, is a region where petrochemical companies and refineries have targeted predominately black communities with poison, cancer-causing air.

Cancer Alley is #7 in the nation producing cancer-causing air. The toxins are from petrochemical plants and refineries. In Laurel, Mississippi, Howard Industries is producing power transformers. It is #9 in the nation producing cancer-causing air. Union Carbide's electric power plant in West Virginia is #11. Cancer-causing industries have targeted communities of color in the United States with the greatest economic need, using their communities for sacrifice zones and dumping grounds. -- Censored News.

Meanwhile, the coal, copper and gold mining industries, and oil and gas industries,  have a long reach in Indian country.

The Biden administration has joined the foreign mining company Rio Tinto and is fighting Apaches in federal court to proceed with the copper mine.

Among the top air polluters in the country is Exxon-Mobil in the Houston area. Exxon-Mobile was a sponsor of the recent Santa Fe Indian Market, among the leading Native arts and crafts festivals in the nation.

Read more at 'Poison in the Air' by ProPublica

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1 comment:

Thomas phx said...

Thank you