Penny Bassett takes a radiation level reading at the former Anaconda copper mine near Yerington, Nev., Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2004. Citing growing concerns about health and safety, state regulators asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Thursday, Dec. 9, 2004, to assume lead oversight of cleaning up radioactive and other toxic waste at the abandoned copper mine in northern Nevada.(AP Photo/Debra Reid)

Clean-up of 24 abandoned uranium mine sites set to move forward under Phase 2 Settlement Agreement

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – The clean-up of 24 abandoned uranium mine sites on the Navajo Nation are set to move forward with the signing of the Addendum 2 under the 2016 Phase 2 Settlement Agreement between the United States and the Navajo Nation, which was provides funding and resources for the clean-up of 30 abandoned mine sites in total. The agreement was signed by Navajo Nation Attorney General Doreen N. McPaul on Feb. 4 and by U.S. DOJ Attorney Brian H. Lynk on Feb. 14. 

“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 President Nez. 

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. 

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

“As these clean-up efforts continue, we will continue to call upon the federal EPA to provide thorough and timely reports that provide for transparency and accountability to our Navajo people and all communities. We look forward to working together with the federal government to ensure the completion of the clean-up efforts,” added President Nez. 

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