Navajos seek funds to clear uranium contamination

It’s kinda like radioactive racism, eh? From the LA Times

Navajos seek funds to clear uranium contamination

 

Tribal officials ask Congress for $500 million to deal with wastes left by mining for bombs, nuclear power plants.

By Judy Pasternak, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 24, 2007

WASHINGTON — Navajo tribal officials asked Congress on Tuesday for at least $500 million to finish cleaning up lingering contamination on the Navajo reservation in the American Southwest from Cold War-era uranium mining, an industry nurtured by its only customer until 1971: the United States government.

The tribe also sought a moratorium on new mining in Navajo country, which extends beyond the formal reservation borders into New Mexico, until environmental damage from the last round is repaired.

The requests came at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, marked by angry exchanges between the members and officials from five federal agencies with varying degrees of responsibility for protecting Navajo health and the environment.

Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) instructed the agencies — the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs — to return in December with a list of the money and authority they need to finally finish the job.

“It’s been a bipartisan failure for over 40 years,” Waxman said. “It’s also a modern American tragedy.”

The full article is here.

For a bit of perspective take a look at extracts from Memories Come To Us In the Rain and the Wind: Oral Histories and Photographs of
Navajo Uranium Miners & Their Families
, from the Navajo Nation, Arizona and New Mexico.

I’m not well-versed in this story and I can’t help but think of what’s going on uranium-wise with First Nations communities at Sharbot Lake.

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One thought on “Navajos seek funds to clear uranium contamination

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