Menu
Categories
Overview of Uranium Cleanup on Navajo Rez
December 4, 2013 Professional Journal

Here at International Film Festival at Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Ariz. Tomorrow is last day of festival, which is being live streamed at:
www.ustream.tv/channel/iuff-4you

STEPHEN ETSITTY, NAVAJO ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
What is community? Collection of homes of related individuals, then chapters, agencies, and bodies of government: chapter officials, district agency councils. Many of these people serve in many positions. All these bodies produce decisions, we are going to do this and we are not going to do this. And this is why. Let us have consideration and explanation for wat do. Many of decisions regarding cleanup have rested with Navajo govt. US EPA was doing work and now that work that extended to Navajo EPA. And even expertise of former uranium companies also bring their knowledge. As you heard hundreds of mining sites and four mills and those are at some stage of cleanup but many decisions regarding those sites have been made. We’ve come to a point where we understand that these decision cud b improved upon and as seen in other areas of major concerns such as water rights and Navajo Hopi land dispute – wat the Navajos are going to hve and Hopis going to hve. The Navajo Hopi Land Commission and Navajo Human Rights Commission are also involved and it also involves citizens. So as get to another level of cleanup which in 30 yr fight. We are now looking at making better decision for pple most affect and how all different ways community defined – grazing areas, pple living near and far from sites, chopter boundaries, five agencies and southwest region. Concept of improving decision came from northeast Church Rock remedy. We didn’t get everything we wanted in US EPA process – there were five major options and two had sub-options. In the end the EPA selected in terms of wat best regarding risks and costs. And in the end, in order to keep a cleanup moving a decision had to be made and so decision was to go along and find best aspects of decioin. Not everyone happy but primrarily wat happen is federal govt accept total responsibility for existence of cleanup. And for us in Navajo government that is what we want to see. And like I said the federal government is responsible; they supported mining/milling and accepted ore. Some of best examples of how advisory boards created is draft Navajo Uranium Commission where a variety of folks represented on board including youth position/perspective. Recommendation has been enacted, president asked to provide him with recommendations and we still need to sit down with president to move it forward with his recommendations. There are hundreds of abandoned mine sites which means hundreds of communities have voice and we ned better way for voices to be heard, better cleanup remedy so we are looking forward to establishing this and using legislative step. President still needs to review draft Uranium Commission and expecting favorable response then give to legislative branch and seek legislative sponsor. Thru out legislative process, people who can make to meetings can watch draft going thru process where it ultimately arrives at Councils. Hope establish and financial support form US EPA in year. There are a lot of projects in pipeline and working with pple in communities and hope put advisory board/commission to assit in making sure voices heard. Ultimately this will be body that provides input into decision making process and hope strengthens Navajo position. OUtside wonders if there is consistency in what Navajo Nation speaks. And use it as respository of learning and do things better.

Leave a Reply
*