Archive for the ‘Uranium’ Category

Uranium Tailings Spill Commemoration on Navajo Nation, Saturday, July 15

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 28, 2017

Contact: Edith Hood, Red Water Pond Road Community Association
505.905.8051 home, 505.713-4085 cell
Susan Gordon, Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment, coordinator
505.577.8438 sgordon@swuraniumimpacts.org contact for photos or graphics

Red Water Pond Road Community: 38 Years Since North East Church Rock
Uranium Tailings Spill That Was Never Investigated Nor Cleaned Up

Uranium Tailings Spill Commemoration, Saturday, July 15, 7 am to 3 pm, 12 miles North of Red Rock State Park on State Highway 566 near Churchrock, NM

The Red Water Pond Road Community on Navajo Nation will be hosting their 38th annual commemoration of the 1979 Uranium Tailings Spill that is the largest uranium tailings spill in the United States.

On July 16, 1979, an earthen dam that held liquid uranium waste broke, releasing 1,000 tons of solid radioactive mill waste and more than 90 million gallons of acidic and radioactive liquids into the Rio Puerco. The contaminants flowed downstream through Gallup, NM and across nine Navajo chapters. Several days after the spill, United Nuclear Corporation sent a handful of people out with shovels and buckets in an attempt to remediate the mess. To this day there has been no reclamation, no study to see how far the contamination went and its impacts on local water systems and people’s health. United Nuclear Corporation has not been held accountable for the spill.

The commemoration is part of the first Cross-Border Anti-Nuclear Action, commemorating the uranium spill and the explosion of the first atomic bomb at the Trinity Site in NM.
https://swuraniumimpacts.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/17.06.27-Press-Release-Cross-Border.pdf

“Let us come together again and share these issues and concerns, collaborate and strategize, to push clean up of these contaminated environments among our Diné people, to restore, preserve and protect our Mother Earth,” said Edith Hood, Red Water Pond Road Community resident. “It is time for our state and tribal governments to stand up and help these impacted communities on Dinetah. There has been enough talk. It is time to take action on behalf of the people.”

The North East Church Rock community are concerned about the uranium contamination legacy that has poisoned Mother Earth, including our sacred waters, land, and livestock. This gathering will provide a venue to discuss and educate everyone about the impacts of uranium mining and milling and about the ongoing work to remove uranium contaminated soil from the surrounding areas to protect our families and environment.

There will be a 7 am walk to the spill site to offer healing prayers. Following the walk people will gather under shade for food, speeches, community education, and a silent auction.

Statement from the family of Arthur Manuel on his passing

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Arthur_ManuelOn Wednesday January 11, 2017 at 11:00 PM, Arthur Manuel, our beloved father, grandfather, husband, brother, uncle, warrior, and teacher passed away. Arthur was one of our most determined and outspoken Secwepemc leaders and activists—a pillar in the resistance, known globally for his tireless advocacy for Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination. He passed on into the spirit world surrounded by many generations of his loving family.

Arthur was the son of Marceline Paul of the Ktuanaxa Nation and George Manuel of the Secwepemc Nation. George was a political leader and visionary who served as president of the National Indian Brotherhood and the World Council of Indigenous Peoples.

Arthur was born into the struggle and groomed to be a leader and defender of Indigenous rights and title. Coming up as a young leader in the 1970s, he served as president of the National Native Youth Association, leading the occupation of Indian Affairs. He attended Concordia University (Montreal, Quebec) and Osgoode Hall Law School (Toronto, Ontario).

He returned to his community and was elected Chief of Neskonlith Indian Band, Chair of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, and Chair of the Assembly of First Nations Delgamuukw Implementation Strategic Committee. He was a long-time co-chair of the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and former co-chair of the Global caucus. He was active in the Defenders of the Land and Idle No More movement and as a board member of the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples. He was one of the main strategic thinkers of the decolonization movement in Canada. As the spokesman for the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade, he convinced the World Trade Organization to recognize that Indigenous peoples are subsidizing the BC lumber industry through the non-recognition of Aboriginal title. He was co-author, along with Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson, of the award-winning Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call, with a foreword by his friend and fellow activist Naomi Klein.

He worked selflessly in defence of Indigenous territorial authority and he fiercely opposed any termination of Indigenous land rights. He rejected provincial and federal authority over unceded Indigenous land, and challenged the extinguishment of Indigenous title through the BC treaty process. He fought climate change, battling the imminent threat of pipelines across Secwepemc territory.

He was a world traveller who connected Indigenous nations across the globe to unite in a common vision and defend their rights. He was gifted a button blanket by the Nuxalk nation and has received countless honours for his work around the world.

Arthur was also a teacher and a mentor to many. He was a source of knowledge for youth and young leaders. Through his fierce love for his people, he shone a light on the path to justice for a new generation of activists.

He’s a residential school survivor, having attended the Kamloops (Kamloops BC), St Eugene’s (Cranbrook BC) and St. Mary’s (Mission BC) residential schools.

Arthur is survived by his life partner, Nicole Schabus, by his sisters Emaline, Martha, Doreen, and Ida, his brothers George, Richard, and Ara, and by his children, Kanahus, Mayuk, Ska7cis and Snutetkwe. He is predeceased by his parents, sister Vera, brother Bobby, beloved son Neskie and his grandchildren Napika Amak and Megenetkwe.

In his most recent article on Canada’s 150th celebration, published only a week before his death, Arthur insisted again that Canada was built entirely on the theft of Indigenous lands.

“Our Indian reserves are only .02% of Canada’s land and yet Indigenous peoples are expected to survive on them. This has led to the systematic impoverishment of Indigenous people and the crippling oppression that indigenous peoples suffer under the current colonial system.

The .02 land based is used to keep us too poor and too weak to fight back. It is used to bribe and co-opt the Indigenous leadership into becoming neocolonial partners to treat the symptom of poverty on Indian reserves without addressing the root cause of the problem, which is the dispossession of all of the Indigenous territory by Canada and the provinces.” – First Nations Strategic Bulletin, August-December 2016 Issue

Wake: Friday, January 13th 5:00 PM and Saturday, January 14th, Adams Lake Indian Band Gymnasium, 6349 Chief Jules Drive, Chase, BC

Funeral Services: Sunday, January 15th 10:00 AM, Adams Lake Indian Band Gymnasium

Media contact: Russell Diabo at 613-296-0110 or rdiabo@rogers.com
Donations to support Arthur’s service can be sent to jacksoncrick7@yahoo.ca
Condolences to the family and photos of Arthur can be sent to erfeltes@gmail.com

Earth Peoples co-founder Arthur Manuel passed away, 66-years-old.

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Dear Earth Peoples.
Arthur Manuel was always working hard.
Tiokasin Ghosthorse brought me to collaborate with Rebecca Sommer, one of my best friends… and this is where I met Arthur. I was very glad to from the start. I was in line with him in the cafeteria at the UN during the indigenous peoples caucus for the Earth Peoples partners event. I got some coffee and was going to sit down at the table he was at. Arthur said with warning…you might not want to sit there. I said oh is this seat taken? He said no its just that you might not want to be associated with me. A lot of people do not like me.
I looked around over my shoulders and said.. jokingly I said….want me to beat them up for you? He laughed a lot. That was the comical and genuine relationship that I had with him from the start. He is someone I am honored to say has changed my life and i can call him my favorite person and a best friend. I am so thrilled that I had the opportunity to know Arthur.
Arthur was my Earth Peoples brother, a child of our mother Earth and I loved him very much. I always looked up to him for saving the world. I remember saying to Arthur that I hope that I can somehow make a difference in the world like he does. I would like to make my life meaningful. He said Elaine, You don’t want to do what i do. He said… I am not complaining but Elaine, you have the creative arts and you can work in that medium and be effective. As you do…. and it seems more fun. That meant a lot to me. I appreciate that with all of my heart. I hope that i can send that message through my art so that I can make him proud and maybe send some laughs too.
He lives forever in our hearts. He lived. I only hope that I can too live a life that makes the ancestors proud  as was well.

Book Arhur ManualHis last writing to me was when he signed his book
Unsettling Canada
for me with the words “May the world be good to you my friend.
-Arthur”

He will be greatly missed!!!

Elaine+Arthur

Indigenous Peoples: REPORT CONCERNING THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA SUBMITTED TO THE UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

REPORT SUBMITTED TO THE UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
In regard to the
UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW CONCERNING THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Second Cycle-22nd Session
April-May 2015, Geneva, Switzerland

Submitted by Indigenous World Association (IWA) an ECOSOC NGO and the Laguna Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment
This Report is submitted by the Indigenous World Association (IWA), an ECOSOC accredited NGO, together with the Laguna-Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment (LACSE). LACSE, an organization of Laguna Pueblo and Acoma Pueblo residents, in New Mexico, USA, is committed to addressing uranium mining legacy issues, including protection of sacred areas, affecting both indigenous nations, and is a member of the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE, masecoalition.org)., which addresses issues of environmental justice related to uranium mining in the Grants uranium belt in Northwestern New Mexico.

Summary

Despite the 2010 statement in support of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) by the United States, the United States has failed to provide meaningful implementation of the rights contained in the UNDRIP. Perhaps in response to the calls by this body in the last UPR cycle in March 2010, as well as that of other UN Human bodies, the United States issued a statement in support of the UNDRIP in December 2010. However the United States continues to insist that the UNDRIP is “a non-binding, aspirational document” and renders the UNDRIP ineffective through federal, state and local actions that deny indigenous peoples the exercise of rights contained in the ICCPR, the ICERD, and the UNDRIP.

This report addresses the United States’ failure to provide substantive protection for sacred areas and landscapes, in the face of recommendations by the Human Rights Committee in the 2014 ICCPR review, by the CERD committee in the 2014 CERD Review, and by several UN special rapporteurs. Related to these rights are those impacted by extractive activities that impact sacred areas and discriminatorily deprive indigenous communities of essential human rights such as the right to free prior and informed consent and rights related to religion and culture.

1. Mt. Taylor (“Kaaweesthiimaa” in the Acoma language, “Tsibiinaa” in the Laguna language), a sacred landscape and area to Acoma, Laguna, and other Indigenous Nations in the region, is under threat of irreparable harm should proposed uranium mining by Roca Honda Resources, LLC, and others proceed in the area. Despite the recognition of this area as a traditional cultural property under federal and state law, the United States Forest Service, an agency of the United States government, has taken actions which substantively disregard United States obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), especially rights with regard to property, health, and participation in cultural activities provided in Article 5 of the ICERD. Despite the Recommendation of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (hereinafter “CERD”) in 2008, to ensure that activities carried out in areas of spiritual and cultural significance to Native Americans do not have a negative impact on the enjoyment of their rights under the Convention, the United States has failed to observe its human rights obligations in this situation.

2. Current federal law purporting to provide protection for cultural rights, and policy on consultation in cases affecting protection of cultural rights, including Executive Orders, have provided no substantive protection for cultural rights. Both the federal and state governments are responsible permitting agencies for mining activities. However, the United States has not taken sufficient steps to establish appropriate mechanisms to ensure a coordinated approach towards the implementation of the Convention at the federal, state and local levels, which are all implicated in the case of Mt. Taylor.

3. The United States Environmental Protection Agency and the New Mexico Environment Department have failed to clean up 97 abandoned uranium mines and 5 former mills in the Grants Mining District in New Mexico after 30 plus years. This includes the Homestake-Barrick Gold mill site now a U.S. Superfund site.

4. The United States Department of Agriculture, and its subsidiary the United States Forest Service, is seeking to permit new uranium mining which will irreparably impact the Mt. Taylor Traditional Cultural Property. The free prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples impacted, including Laguna Pueblo, Acoma Pueblo, Zuni Tribe and Navajo Nation has not been fully obtained for new proposed uranium mining at Mt. Taylor, which is within the aboriginal lands of these indigenous peoples in New Mexico. obtained.

5. Human rights violations of affected indigenous people in New Mexico have been presented in reports to the Human Rights Committee in the United States Review under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and to the CERD Committee as part of the United States review under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) during 2014. In both reviews, the United Nations monitoring committees issued conclusions and recommendations regarding protection of sacred places and the need to provide free, prior and informed consent especially in cases regarding extractive activities.

6. The United States has failed to implement existing laws in a manner that fully implements the rights contained in the UNDRIP, including access to sacred sites and cultural rights. These laws include the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (42 U.S.C. 1996), the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (25 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.), the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (42 U.S.C. 2000 bbl), and the National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470 et seq.) It also violates Executive Order 13007, which directs federal agencies to “accommodate access to and ceremonial use of Indian sacred sites by Indian religious practioners.”

7. The United is ignoring established federal laws and policies protecting indigenous sacred sites when it permits new extractive mining. Specifically it ignores Cite: See Shadow Reports referenced herein and submitted to ICCPR and CERD. See also, Letter of Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment, dated June 13, 2013, pp. 5-7.

8. The United States continues to apply discriminatory laws, such as the General Mining Act of 1872, the 1897 Organic Act, and the 1955 Multiple Use Mining Act, all of which preference mining activities over cultural practices on public land.

9. The United States has so far failed to educate federal agencies, state agencies, and local governments on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The UPR Working Group, in the first UPR cycle for the United States, urged the United States to incorporate human rights training and education in their public policies.

RECOMMENDATIONS:
1. That the United States follow the recommendation of several human rights bodies and establish a National Human Rights institution.
2. That the United States fully implement the UNDRIP.
3. That the United States undertake a comprehensive review of domestic laws and policies, which some U.S. and state agencies interpret to privilege extractive activities over the rights of indigenous peoples, and bring them into compliance with international human rights standards.
4. That the United States adopt effective measures to protect cultural landscapes and sacred areas of indigenous peoples against desecration, contamination and destruction and ensure that consultations are held with the communities that might be adversely affected by State party’s development projects and exploitation of natural resources with a view to obtaining their free, prior and informed consent for the potential project activities.
5. Recommend that the United States take steps to establish appropriate mechanisms to ensure a coordinated approach towards the implementation of the Convention at the federal, state and local levels.”

Berlin: Aufruf zur gemeinsamen Teilnahme an der Klimademo am Sonntag, 21.9.2014

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Liebe Mitstreiter,
gemeinsam mit Tausenden von Demonstranten in New York, London, Paris und weiteren Städten auf allen Kontinenten wollen wir die Politiker, die am Klimagipfel 2 Tage später teilnehmen, an ihre Verantwortung für diese Welt erinnern! Die Filmaufnahmen dieser Demos werden auf der Konferenz gezeigt werden.

TREFFPUNKTE am 21.9. um 14:30 Uhr
14 Uhr – Alexanderplatz – Fußgänger Demo mit Silent Climate Parade.
14.30 Uhr – Mariannenplatz Kreuzberg – Fahrrad-Demo
16.30 Uhr – Potsdamer Platz/Ebertstraße (Vor ‘Vapiano’) – Kinder- und Familiendemo

All drei Demozüge führen zum MAL SCHNELL DIE WELT RETTEN am Brandenburger Tor.

In Richtung Straße des 17. Juni wird es eine eine Schnippeldisko-Vokü geben, Upcycling-Events und Workshops sowie Infos und Diskussionen mit Umwelt- und Klimagruppen.

ABLAUF:
Wir sammeln uns an den angegebenen Treffpunkten. Abmarsch Richtung Brandenburger Tor – Ankunft Brandenburger Tor: ca 17 Uhr. Dort beginnt dann eine große Kundgebung mit vielfältigem Programm bis in die späten Abendstunden. Wir sollten dort noch eine Weile beieinander bleiben. Zwischen 17:30 und 18:00 Uhr werden Luftballons auf den Weg nach New York geschickt.

Die Demos sind als Silent Climate Parade konzipiert: das heißt für die Fußgänger TANZEND zum Brandenburger Tor zu ziehen. Die Musik dazu kommt über Kopfhörer, die man sich individuell am Neptunbrunnen bei den Hauptveranstaltern ausleihen kann (Ausgabe ab 13 Uhr, Personalausweis dabei haben!). Abgabe der Kopfhörer ab 17 Uhr am Brandenburger Tor.

Weitere Informationen:
Alle Aktionen auf dieser Demo sind umweltfreundlich, Musik wird über Kopfhörer gehört, auch die Luftballons, die zwischen 17.30 Uhr und 18.00 Uhr am Brandenburger Tor auf den Weg nach New York geschickt werden, sind biologisch abbaubar.

Bitte auch Information in Englisch lesen: Like a Dull Knife: The People’s Climate “Farce” (Quincy Saul, Truthout)Klick hier

AN ENVIRONMENT INJUSTICE IN THE GRANTS URANIUM DISTRICT, NEW MEXICO, USA

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

My name is Petuuche Gilbert. I am from Acoma Pueblo, an indigenous community here in New Mexico. I live in the Grants Uranium District of which I will talk about. I am a member of the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environmental Alliance which is an organization meant to express concerns about the health and welfare of people and environment within the uranium district.
This statement is being given on behalf of the Laguna Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment which is a core group of the Multi-Cultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE) and Indigenous World Association, a UN ECOSOC NGO.
MASE is a consortium of environmental justice communities that have been adversely impacted by historic uranium mining and milling in the Grants Uranium District. In the district HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS HAVE BEEN SANCTIONED AND ARE IMPLEMENTED BY THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO AND THE US FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RESULTING FROM URANIU MINING AND MILLING.
I will talk about environmental racism perpetrated by governments to satisfy the energy needs of the country. My view is that a rich country goes into under developed countries and into rural communities where useful natural resources are located and mine them while advocating prosperity via economic development. Such actions occur where minority populations are powerless to overcome the majority richer populace. As a result rural areas are devastated and attempts made to try and reclaim the land. At one time these actions meant to satisfy the energy needs of America while ruining land for generations of people was called national sacrifice areas. This, in my mind, is environmental racism. The government’s response to cleaning up historic uranium mining and milling waste and permitting new uranium mines violates Articles 1, 2 and 5 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination’s (CERD).
The charges I will make address environmental injustice and environmental racism as a result of uranium mining activities. I will provide examples of environmental degradation being caused in this region. This type of discriminatory actions taken by mining companies with the permission of state and federal governments occur in rural and economically depressed communities. As an ensuing result land, water, and air, all becomes contaminated and people are sick and dying from cancer and numerous health problems.
This region has had 50 years of uranium mining which has left a legacy of numerous abandoned uranium mines and mills which has severely damaged the environment, contaminated land and water of all people living here. It is an environmental injustice being perpetrated upon rural people and almost not within their control. The area I will talk about is the Grants Uranium District which is sometimes referred to as the uranium belt. The Grants Uranium District covers an area of approximately 25 miles wide and 100 miles long inside Cibola County and in the northwestern region of New Mexico. There are numerous small communities within the mining district but I will highlight Milan and Grants because those places are at the heart of the Grants Uranium District. The City of Grants once called itself the “Uranium Capitol of the World.” Currently the City of Grants has a population of 9,253 and the Village of Milan has approximately 3,000 people living there. The rural county has lower per capita income than New Mexico and even more lower for the United States. Even though the unemployment rate in Cibola County was 6.9 percent in 2012 there is constant clamor for more jobs. Hence local leaders and politicians demand uranium mining which would bring in revenues and job. After the uranium era went bust the Grants and Milan opted for prison industry business and the two communities now host three prison complexes. The point here is uranium mining companies promise employment and revenues for business and local governments. When local people raise health and environmental problems caused from past mining and milling the companies state there are now better state and federal regulations which better protect land and people. Further, the legislators and mining companies promise to clean up old abandoned mine sites and state they will clean them up with new revenues.
The Grants Uranium District has seen land and people’s health harmed by several decades of uranium mining and milling. Even though there has been 50 years of uranium ore operations there have been no serious long-term health studies performed by the state and federal government. Only recently has the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency begun 5 Year Assessments of Health and Environmental Impacts of Uranium Mining and Milling for the Grants Uranium District. People’s health has been affected but there are no health studies to prove the numbers of cancer related deaths is the result of radioactive contamination of land and people. Health impacts are unknown and neglected when jobs and income from uranium industry are being promoted.
The mining district hosts 97 legacy uranium mines and there are 5 legacy uranium mill sites in the Grants mining district. This district includes what was once the largest open pit uranium mine in the world called the Jackpile Mine. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission continues to oversee reclamation efforts at two former mill sites – the Homestake Mill-Barrick Gold superfund site and the Rio Algom Mill site. At another mill site the Department of Energy oversees the old Anaconda Bluewater Mill Site.
I especially want to emphasize the environmental injustice being done upon 5 residential communities living near the Homestake/Barrick Gold mill reclamation project. This area is located approximately 5 miles north of the Village of Milan, New Mexico. Tailings, or ore waste, were discharged from the uranium recovery mill to two unlined tailings impoundments from 1958 to 1990. Milling operations ceased in 1990 and milling facilities were decommissioned. In this Bluewate Valley communities the Homestake mill tailings pile continues to leak radioactive contaminates into ground water and exposes community members to radon emissions. Landowners have seen the value of their land and homes plummet due to the nearby tailings pile. Some people are unable to sell their property and thus essentially unable to move.
These five residential neighborhoods live within a two mile radius of the Homestake Superfnd Site with the closest one being less than one half mile away. To publicly emphasize their contaminated situation the Bluewater Valley Downstream Alliance (BVDA) created a “death map” of victims who they feel died from radiation health related impacts. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Human Health Risk Assessment for the site and they determined Homestake site faced excess cancer risks 18 times higher than EPA’s “generally acceptable risk” range for radionuclides in outdoor air . In this agriculture community where people have farmed, ranched, and lived, in the area for decades before the mill site was closed now are told they can no longer use their well water. The state of New Mexico has issued a health advisory to prevent well water being used for domestic and agriculture purposes so water has to be piped in.
Uranium milling has left radioactive mill tailings waste which are dangerous to humans. The Homestake mill site consists of 24 million tons of ore tailings on an area of 180 acres which includes large and small tailings and evaporation ponds. Homestake Mining Company (HMC), now owned by Barrick Gold Corporation , is still working and trying to clean up their old milling operations radioactive waste pile. Groundwater contamination from HMC’s prior milling operation was first discovered in 1974. Since 1977 the state of New Mexico Environment Department and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have attempted to reclaim the site. Very little progress has been made. Millions of dollars has been expended and millions of gallons of water has been used, wasted and polluted. After 35 years of cleanup work Homestake Barrick Gold has put into action another Corrective Action Plan and the New Mexico Environment Department is preparing to renewal an on-going discharge permit to continue cleanup. Failed and/or inadequate remediation of radioactive contamination thus continues under the guidance of state and federal governments.
Another form of ongoing environmental injustice is the absolute wasting of precious ground water. Underground water use in the Homestake mill reclamation project is immense. Within a 7 square mile there are 839 wells into four aquifers. Fresh water from the area’s major aquifer is being utilized. The San Andres Glorieta (SAGA) aquifer supplies drinking water for the Village of Milan, the City of Grants, and other nearby communities. The SAGA also provides recharge for nearby springs and for the Rio San Jose stream. These aquifers are the water resources underneath the residences surrounding the old mill site. Homestake uses water from these sources to abate ground water contamination and for injection into subsurface so as to create a hydraulic barrier and prevent movement of contaminated ground water downstream and away from the polluted site. The renewed discharge permit from NMED, DP 200, authorizes treatment operations to utilize 5,500 gallons per minute for cleanup operation. Too, after years of failed attempts to clean contaminated ground water and in NMED’s word “abatement” they are still searching for alternative treatment methods. NMED is authorizing HMC to continue ongoing pilot testing of alternate ground water treatment technology with applying biological methods.
Compounding this groundwater contamination problem for the heavily used aquifer, the San Andres Glorieta, is another legacy mill site 2 miles west of the old Homestake Mill site. It is the old Anaconda Bluewater uranium mill tailings disposal site which is now owned by the federal government under management by the Department of Energy (DOE). It was found by the DOE in 2012 that elevated uranium concentrations in the alluvial and San Andres Glorieta Aquifer had been detected in nearby monitoring wells. This has led to the belief that uranium contamination is leaving the disposal site and a contamination plume is moving toward the Homestake mill site. The surrounding communities of Bluewater Village, Milan and Grants all rely on the San Andres Glorieta Aquifer for domestic and municipal use.
In further state government action to allow for groundwater contamination at mill tailings sites Alternate Concentration Limits (ACLs) were established. This allows site groundwater standards to be set at higher concentration levels than the NRC and the EPA standards. These government permitted limits are established simply because contaminated ground water cannot be returned to original background conditions.
Environmental damage in the region has been immense. As another example, one such environmental disaster occurred thirty-five years ago, when an unlined earthen dam at the United Nuclear Corporation mill tailings facility near Churchrock, New Mexico, collapsed and released 1,100 tons of radioactive tailings and 94 million gallons of toxic wastewater to the Puerco River. This remains on the ground. All the legacy mine sites are sources for hazardous releases to the air, soil and water.
On top this is another situation of environmental injustice being permitted by the federal government upon a community within the Churchrock Uranium District is the granting of an aquifer exemption permit. The Uranium Resource Incorporated (URI) plans to develop an in situ leach (ISL) mining near the area known as Churchrock. ISL mining involves extracting uranium ore from underground ore bodies by pouring chemically treated water down pipes subsurface and often into aquifer zones. URI obtained an aquifer exemption permit from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the location of their mine by asserting the aquifer was not being used by people. An exemption permit is granted by EPA if it is shown the water is not being used domestically. The surrounding people insist the underground water is being used and needed for future growth. In a rural area where there is no piped water and treatment plants well water is used for agriculture and domestic purposes. EPA is currently reviewing the old aquifer exemption permit and this has even gone into federal courts.
To further exacerbate environmental injustice upon people within the Grants Uranium District a new wave of applications for uranium development is presently underway in the area. The URI plans for in-situ uranium mining by Hydro Resources, Inc. are being finalized even as indigenous people are protesting it in U.S. and international courts. The prospect of new contamination to regional water supplies and the wholesale wasting of millions of gallons of water may prove to be disastrous for communities and the landscape.
New uranium mining is being proposed near San Mateo in the Grants Mining District where some of it is in the Cibola National Forest. Roca Honda, LLC, a Canadian company and its Japanese partner, are proposing to operate a conventional mining operation near San Mateo, New Mexico. A draft Environmental Impact Statement has been completed and a decision is forthcoming in 2015. The State of New Mexico and the US Forest Service have to permit the mine. The New Mexico State Land Office and the Governor of the state want the mine to open because of its supposed economic prosperity. The Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE) has studied the economic analysis reported by Roca Honda and has offered a opposing perspective. A major concern of a new mine and the proposed re-opening of an existing mine is the dewatering and wasting of ground water. Roca Honda plans to dewater at the rate of 8 million gallons per day. Another mining company just 3 miles east is the Rio Grande Resources Corporation, which is an old mine on standby status, has requested the State of New Mexico to go back into active status. It has requested a mine dewatering permit to discharge 17 million gallons of water per day. This amount of water withdrawn from underground at over 20 million gallons of water in one day is a grave environmental injustice to land and people where the average rainfall in this dry area of the southwest is only 10 to 12 inches per year. In spite of the enormous amount of harmful environmental and human consequences described in the Forest Service’s Draft Environmental Statement the governmental agency insists it must issue a permit to mine because of federal statutory law—the General Mining Act of 1872. This is environmental racism and another discriminatory action meant to satisfy the mining industry.
What has been done to address uranium legacy issues?
Yes. There have been years of work done by Homestake Mining Company, the New Mexico Environment Department, and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Several decades of work has passed in attempting to address legacy mines and mills. Millions of dollars has been expended. Yet, the environmental contamination remains. The soil, water, and air, all are still contaminated daily. People are sick and dying. Environmentalists, like the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment, have demanded for abandoned uranium mines clean up. US EPA has a second Five Year Plan in place but no money for implementation. There is a renewed Corrective Action Plan in place. As stated the NMED is renewing its discharge permit and they insist progress is being made. Meanwhile after all this with three decades of reclamation efforts and out of frustration and desperation the Bluewater Valley Downstream residents now insist. Move the tailings pile or move us. Thus, this environmental injustice remains and continues.
What must be done?
1. New Mexico and the federal government have to permanently clean up abandoned uranium mines and old mill sites and remediate soil, air, and water to standards consistent with the CERD’s guaranteed right to health. Article 5 (e)(iv).
2. New Mexico and the federal government have to do health risks and health studies in the Grants Uranium District. These governments must adhere to CERD’S right to public health to perform comprehensive studies on public health impacts resulting from uranium mining and milling, according to Article 5 (e)(iv).
3. Educate the public at large about the problems associated with uranium mining and milling.
4. The Homestake/Barrick Gold Mining Company, the State and Federal Governments all need to spend even more money at the Homestake Mill site and prevent further contamination, or, move the pile.
5. The U.S. Congress must demand a General Accounting Office (GAO) study to investigate the amount of federal money spent at the Homestake Mill reclamation site and demand to know if cleanup is doable or unachievable.
6. The State of New Mexico and local units of governments must be educated on the United States obligation under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Global Atlas of environmental conflicts launched in Brussels

Friday, March 21st, 2014
The Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities and Trade (EJOLT) project launches today its Global Atlas of Environmental Justice, a visually attractive and interactive online mapping platform detailing around 1000 environmental conflicts (and growing). It allows users to search and filter across 100 fields and to browse by commodity, company, country and type of conflict. With one click you can find a global snapshot of nuclear, waste or water conflicts, or the places where communities have an issue with a particular mining or chemical company. Click on any point to find the actors and a conflict description with the outcome and sources. Maps you create using the search and filter can be shared on your webpage or facebook. Featured maps will focus on issues ranging from fracking to conflicts over mega-infrastructure projects to maps on violent targeting of activists (and more).

The Atlas is a product of the EU-funded EJOLT project. Over 100 people from 23 universities and environmental justice organisations in 18 countries plus dozens of independent collaborators from all around the world have joined forces to create this huge and valuable resource. The project is coordinated by Professor Joan Martinez-Alier and his team of ecological economists from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (ICTA-UAB).

“The Atlas illustrates how ecological conflicts are increasing around the world, driven by material demands fed primarily by the rich and middle class subsections of the global population,” says Martinez-Alier. “The most impacted are poor, marginalized and indigenous communities. They usually do not have the political power to ensure access to environmental justice and health.” Over 2000 different corporations and financial institutions are involved. This includes many corporate and state actors from developed countries, but with growing participation from the emerging economies.

While the map highlights disturbing trends, such as continuing corporate impunity for environmental crimes and the fact that 80% of the cases entail a loss of livelihood, it is also inspiring. Amidst the stories of environmental devastation, political repression and persecution of activists, many cases of environmental justice victories can be found. Court cases were won, projects were cancelled and sometimes, the commons were reclaimed. 17% of the cases in the map are considered environmental justice victories.

The Atlas will make it easier to find information, connect with other groups working on related issues and increase the visibility of environmental conflicts. It can also be used for teaching and advocacy work. For the moment, the map is similar to ancient world maps, with good coverage of some areas and blanks spots. The goal now is to reach out to many new civil society organisations and researchers with specific areas of expertise and invite them to contribute to expanding the base of knowledge.

A crucial feature of the project and the Atlas is that grassroots movements for environmental justice are the key for moving towards more just, equitable and less damaging forms of consumption and production. According to Atlas coordinator Leah Temper “Only once communities stand up and say we will no longer be polluted, will governments and companies change their behaviour.” Leah Temper will launch the Atlas at the 19 March Mapping Environmental Justice event in Brussels, which is co-organised by the European Environmental Bureau and the United Nations Environment Programme’s Liaison Office to the EU Institutions.

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Video about the Abandoned Uranium Mines and how they affect both the Great Sioux Nation and the Navajo Nation

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Message from Charmaine White Face

The following is a video about the Abandoned Uranium Mines and how they affect both the Great Sioux Nation and the Navajo Nation although we live a thousand miles apart.  It was done by Crystal Zevon last Spring.  Pass it on to as many people as possible.  Then the whole world will know what is happening.

Watch VIDEO

CONSOLIDATED INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ALTERNATIVE REPORT SUBMITTED TO THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE FOR THEIR REVIEW OF THE UNITED STATES

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

From International Indian Treaty Council

CONSOLIDATED INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ALTERNATIVE REPORT SUBMITTED TO THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE FOR THEIR REVIEW OF THE UNITED STATES

September 13th, 2013: Today the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) submitted a Consolidated Indigenous Peoples Alternative (“Shadow”) Report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee for their upcoming review of United States (US) compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). 28 Indigenous Nations, Tribes, Treaty Councils, organizations, Community groups and Traditional Cultural Societies were co-submitters and/or made contributions to the report. Based on specific questions directed to the US by the Committee, the co-submitters addressed the ongoing lack of protection by the US for Indigenous Peoples’ Sacred Areas, religious and cultural practices, and its failure to implement the right to Free Prior and Informed Consent.

The ICCPR is a multilateral legally binding Human Rights Treaty adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on December 16, 1966. The US is one of 167 “State parties” which have ratified the Covenant. All State parties are required to undergo periodic reviews by the Human Rights Committee assessing their compliance with the Covenant, usually every 4 – 6 years. The US will be reviewed by the Committee in Geneva on October 17th and 18th, 2013 during its 109th session.

The Indigenous co-submitters are calling on the Committee to hold the US accountable for its ongoing human rights violations including the desecration of Indigenous Peoples’ sacred places. Petuuche Gilbert, representing the Indigenous World Association and Laguna Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment, explained that “most Indigenous lands and sacred areas, like Mt. Taylor, have been declared to be ‘public’ land by the United States, so it is up to the federal government to fulfill their human rights commitments and protect these areas held sacred by Indigenous Peoples, including preventing their destruction from activities such as uranium mining.”

Spiritual Leader and IITC Board member Radley Davis, representing Pit River Nation and Advocates for the Protection of Sacred Sites, affirmed the importance of this submission: “The UN world bodies are vital to Pit River Nation and all other Indigenous Peoples regarding the protections of their sacred places because the US, in its short span of life, has allowed activities that desecrate sacred areas like Medicine Lake which are of the greatest spiritual significance for us. We call upon the UN Human Rights Committee to hold the US accountable for the human rights that they have agreed to uphold.”

The Consolidated Indigenous Peoples’ Alternative Report will be posted in its entirety, along with the US country report, other Alternative Reports and Committee’s Concluding Observations regarding the US on the Human Rights Committee web site: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/.

The Indigenous Peoples’ Report is also available on IITC’s web site, www.treatycouncil.org.

NSA planetarian surveillance scheme “Prism” is motivated in part by fears that environmentally-linked disasters could spur anti-government activism

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

Pentagon bracing for public dissent over climate and energy shocks

NSA Prism is motivated in part by fears that environmentally-linked disasters could spur anti-government activism

Read article The Guardian