Clean-up of 24 abandoned uranium mine sites on Navajo Nation land to move forward

Radiation warning sign in front of abandoned mine [Photo courtesy EPA]

WINDOW ROCK – Twenty-four abandoned uranium mine sites on the Navajo Nation are set to cleaned-up now that the 2016 Phase 2 Settlement Agreement between the United States and the Navajo Nation, has been signed by Navajo Nation Attorney General Doreen McPaul and Department of Justice Attorney Brian Lynk.

The Agreement provides funding and resources for the clean-up of 30 abandoned mine sites in total.

Under the 2016 agreement, Addendum 1 established the funding and listed the first 13 sites situated in the communities of Cameron and Coalmine Canyon and for one water study to be conducted at the Claim 28 site in the Tachee/Blue Gap.

The Agreement estimates costs to total over $16.7 million to address the 24 sites and the water study.

“We are pleased to be moving forward with the long-overdue clean-up of 24 additional uranium mine sites. Recently, Vice President Myron Lizer and I met with the U.S. EPA Region 9 and we urged them to prioritize Navajo businesses in the remediation of these sites to help our local Navajo economy. We are very thankful to our Navajo Nation EPA, Attorney General McPaul, the Superfund staff, and all of the federal officials for completing the next phase of clean-up under the Phase 2 Settlement Agreement,” said Navajo Nation President Nez.

“We greatly appreciate the hard work of many previous and present leaders and officials for reaching this point. Uranium mining has had a long-lasting devastating impact for many Navajo families. With the clean-up of these 24 additional sites, it continues us further on the path of healing,” said Navajo Nation Vice President Lizer.

The 24 abandoned uranium sites are combined into 17 remedial site evaluations identified under Addendum 2 of the Phase 2 Settlement Agreement are located in the communities of Tselani/Cottonwood, Black Mesa, Tachee/Blue Gap, Teec Nos Pos, and Tółikan, and one water study in the area of Teec Nos Pos and Tółikan.

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