Update: Sharbot Lake Hunger Striker

Media Release

For immediate release

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

On Wednesday, December 5th in the media gallery at Queen’s Park, Donna Dillman made a heartfelt plea for the Premier of Ontario to call for a moratorium on uranium exploration and mining in Eastern Ontario.

Dr. Gordon Edwards, President of The Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Bruce Cox, Executor Director of Greenpeace and Marilyn Crawford, member of Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium, backed up her demand with presentations to the gallery.

As a society, it is time we grew up and realized that we live on a finite planet, that we must learn to live on Earth as if we want to stay,” said the 53 year-old grandmother, on her 59th day with no food. Dillman quit eating on Thanksgiving Monday, October 8th. She moved to the steps of Queen’s Park a week ago, after living on the side of the road at the uranium exploration site just north of Sharbot Lake (between Kingston and Ottawa).

Stating that her grandson turned four last week she added, “What will the Fisher Price toys and the RESPs mean if his soil is unusable, his water undrinkable and his air unbreathable.”

The day after she arrived at Queen’s Park, Dillman met with Premier McGuinty and was told that uranium exploration upriver of Canada’s Capitol was required because we need to keep the lights on in Ontario. She informed both McGuinty and Honourable Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines, who was also at the meeting, that 80% of the uranium currently mined is exported, mostly to the US.

Dillman came away from the meeting stunned that neither politician was aware that that was the case. McGuinty committed to checking it out and to getting back to her. One week later, despite her request that he act quickly, as she would like to rejoin her family and eat again, he has not contacted her. The Canadian Nuclear Association website at

http://cna.ca/english states that, “About 85% of our uranium production is exported to countries around the world.”

Edwards spoke to the health effects and risks of uranium and its daughter products. He also quoted from an Interim Report on Nuclear Power, by the Royal Commission on Electric Power Planning, Toronto, 1978, which states,

An independent review committee should be established to study this problem in depth and prepare a public report for AECB and the Ontario Environmental Assessment Board. The future of the nuclear program should be assessed in light of the committee’s findings and progress in mill tailings containment technology.”

He then pointed out that such an assessment has not yet been done and commented that, “The US Surgeon General has determined that the second largest cause of lung cancer (after smoking) is radon gas. Radon gas is released whenever uranium is disturbed and is the first issue arising from exploratory drilling.”

An impassioned plea from Cox for the Premier to heed the requests of the hundreds of thousands of people from around the world followed Edwards’ statement.

Crawford listed an extensive number of supporters that included international experts Dr. David Suzuki, Dr. Rosalie Bertell and author Helen Caldicott; local, national and international organizations and all surrounding municipal councils. The press conference ended with Crawford’s presentation of a 3500 name petition on neon yellow paper, an inch thick, to NDP MP and Environment Critic, Peter Tabuns. Tabuns presented the names to McGuinty in the afternoon sitting when he challenged the Premier to call a moratorium and to change direction in regard to his plans for a nuclear powered future for Ontario.

As she enters her third month without food, with support building daily, Dillman is committed to continue the fight to have the Ontario Government exercise its duty to protect its citizens against serious health and environmental risks from exploration and mining, via an immediate moratorium.

-30-

Contact

Donna Dillman

416-274-9980

or

Lynn Daniluk

613-267-0539

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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.

Action in Ottawa

I have pulled the following from the comments section of this post in the hope that a few more Ottawa folks might see it and be motivated to go to the meeting. It’s great that folks are organizing to support the Algonquin people in their struggle against uranium mining.

Tomorrow night in Ottawa, there will be an inaugural meeting of the COMMUNITY COALITION AGAINST MINING URANIUM: THE OTTAWA CHAPTER

There will be a meeting held for those who are interested in forming an anti-uranium mining protest group in Ottawa.

WHEN: Wednesday October 3rd, 2007 6:30-8 pm
WHERE: CUPE National offices, 20 James St.(downtown)
MORE INFO: Contact Karen at www.nupge.ca or (613) 228-9800

This meeting is in response to the proposed mine in Frontenac County approx. 115 km sw from Ottawa and the protest by the Algonquin people. See www.ccamu.ca

I would like to propose at this meeting that we organize a reading in Ottawa. It sure would be timely. I have never done this before, so please let me know what might be involved. I see that in Regina there is going to be a non-nuclear benefit…. Give that we are a fledgling group and the time is NOW, that sounds like a great idea as well.

Michelle Landry