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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Navajo still waiting on uranium cleanup

From the Gallup Independent

Residents tell of mining's tragic impact

By Kathy Helms
Diné Bureau

CHURCH ROCK, N.M. — Ed Carlisle of Church Rock Chapter used to sit in the back of the wagon and go with his grandfather to haul water. "He'd park in the lake and he would give me water to put in the barrel, and I had this barrel covered with a piece of cloth," he said.

"He used to pour the water in the barrel to get the tadpoles out. Now, we're pretty much doing the same thing. Water is really precious and scarce," Carlisle told U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and New Mexico Environment Department, and Navajo Nation EPA officials, who were at the chapter Friday to listen to community concerns regarding cleanup of the Northeast Church Rock Mine.

But this time, it's not tadpoles in the water they're worried about. It's radionuclides and heavy metals. And it's been there for years. So many years, in fact, Navajo residents were not necessarily impressed with EPA's accelerated cleanup plan, which ideally would wipe clean nearly 40 years of uranium mining in the area in one year.

Community member Robert Dodson told EPA, "The reason I wanted to come here today is to tell the people that are not from around here that there is a big issue about this uranium" that those "from 'civilization,' where you people are from," don't see. complete article


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