There are two interconnected struggles on Native lands in the Southwest we thought you should know about.
The White Mesa Ute Community and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe are currently in a fight for their lives against the last conventional uranium mill in the U.S. Their struggle against plans to dump international nuclear waste in their backyard deserves our strong support.
The White Mesa Mill is the lynchpin for America’s uranium industry. Located just three miles from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe’s White Mesa community, and on the doorstep of Bears Ears National Monument, it was originally designed to run for 15 years before being closed and cleaned up. But the mill is still in operation 40 years later, and community members are extremely concerned about impacts on their health, along with contamination of their land, air, and water, and the mill’s ongoing desecration of their cultural and sacred sites.
Now the mill is seeking to import radioactive waste from Japan, Estonia, and elsewhere. Once uranium is extracted from the waste, toxic leftovers will be buried at the mill for all eternity. Will the White Mesa Mill become the world’s radioactive waste dump?
And comment to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (UNC) about a related struggle in New Mexico, yet another outpost of nuclear colonialism, to use Winona LaDuke’s telling description. Help stop a plan to clean up the Northeast Church Rock mine by piling mine waste on top of the mill waste where the infamous 1979 Church Rock Spill occurred, the largest accidental release of radioactive material in the United States, whose terrible impacts are still being felt by the Diné. Three times as much radiation was cumulatively released there than at Three Mile Island—and yet, because of environmental racism, it is still largely unknown. Here are some very basic talking points, with deep thanks to Leona Morgan of the Albuquerque-based Nuclear Issue Study Group:
3) Do not ship waste to White Mesa Mill!
The deadline for comments on the Churchrock “cleanup” is February 26, 2021. You can submit written comments via standard mail or email with “Docket ID NRC-2019-0026” in the subject line.
Mail comments to:
Washington, DC 20555-0001