The Eastern Navajo Land Commission opposes the Navajo Council’s Resources and Development Committee Legislation 0373-13, which would allow Uranium Resources, Inc., to establish an In-Situ Uranium Mining Demonstration Project near Church Rock, N.M., and the creation of a Sub-Committee to draft an agreement to approve the transportation of uranium/hazardous materials by URI.
The ENLC approved legislation, which is titled “Opposing and Disapproving of Resources and Development Committee Legislation 0373-13 Acknowledging as Outdated Rights of Way and Surface Use of Navajo Lands for Transporting of Hazardous Material by Uranium Resources, Inc.”, with a vote of 3 in favor, 0 opposed on Dec. 20, 2013.
The ENLC members are Navajo Council Delegates Charles Damon II, Danny Simpson and Edmund Yazzie.
According to the ENLC, Navajo law authorizes them to coordinate efforts that resolve land-related issues with federal, state, county and other local authorities and private interests throughout the Eastern Navajo Agency and to also assume responsibility for advocating for or opposing or mitigating negative impacts from energy development in the Eastern Navajo Agency.
But the Commission stated that they were not consulted on Legislation 0373-13, which is an attempt to circumvent the Commission’s responsibility regarding energy resources in Eastern Navajo.
“The Commission further asserts the legislation sponsors are over-stepping their representation areas that shows no respect for people that were impacted by the uranium tailings dam spill within a few miles northeast of the Section 8 site,” the Commission stated. “The primary sponsor does not represent the interest of the people within the Church Rock or Pinedale Chapters.”
The primary sponsor is Navajo Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie, who is also a Resources & Development Committee member.
The Commission noted that the co-sponsor is from the northwestern part of the Navajo Reservation and is not knowledgeable about the mental anguish local people have endured over the past 34 years from the tailings spill and its effects on their livelihood, which is directly tied to livestock and the local ground water.
The co-sponsor is Navajo Council Delegate Katherine Benally, who is the Resources & Development Committee chairperson.
The Commission also noted that URI asked for the commission’s support and when the commission declined their request, URI has been using Navajo resources and individuals to help URI advance their efforts to develop Section 8, Section 17 and Crownpoint, N.M., properties.
“This type of infiltration into Navajo Nation affairs has historically harmed Navajo governance, social stability and lifestyles,” the commission stated. “The commission is astounded by the fact that the Resources & Development Committee would consider such legislation in the face of the Navajo Natural Resources Protection Act that forbids uranium development.”
The commission also questioned the validity of URI’s inherited rights-of-way, which is cited in the Resources & Development Committee Legislation 0373-13.
HERE IS THE WEB ADDRESS FOR EASTERN NAVAJO LAND COMMISSION RESOLUTION OPPOSING NAVAJO COUNCIL’S RESOURCES & DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE URANIUM LEGISLATION:
HERE IS THE WEB ADDRESS FOR LEGISLATION 0373-13: AN ACTION RELATING TO RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT; ACKNOWLEDGING THE RIGHT-OF-WAY AND SURFACE USE BY URANIUM RESOURCES, INC., OF ITS CHURCHROCK PROPERTIES LICENSED BY THE U.S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION LICENSE NO. SUA-1580; AUTHORIZING A SUBCOMMITTEE:
HERE IS THE RESOURCES & DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE AGENDA FOR DEC. 23, 2013, AT 9 AM AT THE CHILCHINBETO, ARIZ., CHAPTER:
HERE IS THE WEB ADDRESS FOR THE NAVAJO COUNCIL WEBSITE: