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URI: 42,000 acres of URI land is on negotiating table
April 30, 2014 Professional Journal
URI President/CEO Christopher M. Jones attended Navajo Council Resources & Development Committee Subcommittee meeting at tribal Economic Development Division in St. Michaels, Ariz., on April 30, 2014. Photo by Marley Shebala.

URI President/CEO Christopher M. Jones attended Navajo Council Resources & Development Committee Subcommittee meeting at tribal Economic Development Division in St. Michaels, Ariz., on April 30, 2014. Photo by Marley Shebala.

Here at the Navajo Council Resources & Development Committee’s Subcommittee of the Navajo Nation Uranium Resources Inc. Uranium Development Agreement of the 22nd Navajo Nation Council. URI VICE PRESIDENT FOR HEALTH, SAFETY, ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS MARK S. PELIZZA is making his presentation on “THE IN-SITU RECOVERY PROCESS and it’s VERY technical. But I’m video taping and so people can actually hear and see URI’s presentation as well as questions from tribal elected officials.

Well, the Subcommittee is on lunch break and just before the Subcommittee of two recessed, Subcommittee Chairperson Delegate Leonard Tsosie asked URI President/CEO Christophe M. Jones to share some information that Council delegates missed when they arrived to the Subcommittee late.

URI PRESIDENT/CEO CHRISTOPHER M JONES
There were two questions that the Subcommittee wanted answer: Number 1, Would URI be willing to offer up its land as part of negotiations. Yes. URI has 200,000 acres in New Mexico. And URI has about 42,000 mineral rights that we own. Some lands we lease. What I told Subcommittee is that all the lands that we own in New Mexico are on the table for consideration and that includes Crownpoint, New Mexico, milling and processing license. All lands are up for consideration and URI would take Crownpoint out of our license. I am president and I can make the deal.

BACK TO URI PRESENTATION AND QUESTIONS:
CHURCH ROCK, NM, CHAPTER PRESIDENT JOHNNIE HENRY JR.
Any uranium miners here? I’m a former uranium miner and the water underground is like a river and you drink it when get thirsty and we ate our lunch down there. Most of the wells around there have been capped but the livestock still use for drinking water.
When we talk water, the water inside ore body and already tapped so many times. So many holes drilled in ore body and to think you’ll hit clean water is not real.
We have lot of drill holes where cleanup going on.

Church Rock, N.M., Chapter President Johnnie Henry Jr., a former uranium miner, attended the Navajo Council Resources & Development Committee Subcommittee meeting at the tribal Economic Development Division in St. Michaels, Ariz., on April 30, 2014. Photo by Marley Shebala.

Church Rock, N.M., Chapter President Johnnie Henry Jr., a former uranium miner, attended the Navajo Council Resources & Development Committee Subcommittee meeting at the tribal Economic Development Division in St. Michaels, Ariz., on April 30, 2014. Photo by Marley Shebala.

DELGATE DUANE TSINIGINE
There is very delicate, sensitive. When truck takes uranium from where mined to end of reservation borderline, we are speaking realistically, what happens if accident? Are you prepared or do u suggest tribal regulations? And New Mexico and other states have to be notified.
If there is spill you are working with so no danger to society?

URI VICE PRESIDENT FOR HEALTH, SAFETY, ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS MARK S. PELIZZA
Looked at very hard as part of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations. We have contingency plan where detailed and written out. If accident, immediate notification by driver and if not then immediate notification to emergency officials. We have all equipment – shovels, burns – and we are ready for any accident. Notification to all levels – highway patrol, Navajo public safety, sheriff, Chemtrack: private emergency response center. We have a detailed plan and reviewed by regulators. We have drills at facility to make sure working.
My concern is actual physical impact of accident.

SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIR LEONARD TSOSIE
When has accidents occurred? Snow covered roads?

URI VICE PRESIDENT FOR HEALTH, SAFETY, ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS MARK S. PELIZZA
Can’t give answer for second part of question but something prepare for. Accidents by definition are events that happen by accident.

DELEGATE DUANE TSINIGINE
Contingency plan is who is notified. But public shud be informed about recovery.

DELEGATE DANNY SIMPSON
You talk about Contingency Plan but do our Navajo police know? We don’t know and so Navajo police probably don’t know.
And also NEPA has to come up with Class 3 regulatory program.
There is no communication. Information is not being shared. So goes back to NEPA director Etsitty that a Class 3 regulatory program has to be established.
There are a lot of thing unanswered. But all hear is that this is very technical and we will provide more information later. So get all information to all tribal entities and appropriate committees for their review and comments.

SUBCOMMITTEE VICE CHAIRPERSON LEONARD PETE
I didn’t take trip up north and they say you walk near container. Before leaving, they take Geiger counter to make sure not glowing.

URI VICE PRESIDENT FOR HEALTH, SAFETY, ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS MARK S. PELIZZA
We have not had process of going back and forth to lean what you want and we are thankful and think extremely valuable.
But items such as this have been reviewed by Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

NAVAJO EPA DIRECTOR STEPHEN ETSITTY
In 2008, Navajo Nation Council enacted the Superfund Act and impose tariff on entities that store waste. And Freda is developing fund to support emergency response. 128A program is response program to deal with spill and nation wide contingency plan and work w other agencies regarding transportation such as tribal police and Navajo Department of Transportation.
And address Delegate Tsinigine’s 2012 Hazardous Transportation Act because it could also create funding from URI for local emergency response groups and local fire department.
Foundation is in place. So with all work of cleaning up former uranium mining and milling, NEPA is working on hazardous waste.
But question is jurisdiction because transport route would go across Navajo land.

SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIRPERSON LEONARD TSOSIE
But at the moment and when we have trucks rolling, I wud expect that tribal police, county, sheriff, state police show up if accident. And who else?

URI VICE PRESIDENT FOR HEALTH, SAFETY, ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS MARK S. PELIZZA
State environmental regulators. The buck stops with us and anything that happens we will be responsible for. We have radiation safety officer and training extensive and rigorous. There will be one at Church Rock site. I can distribute Contigency Plan as soon as possible.

SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIRPERSON LEONARD TSOSIE
This will be at Section 8?

URI VICE PRESIDENT FOR HEALTH, SAFETY, ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS MARK S. PELIZZA
Yes.

NAVAJO EPA ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM SUPERVISOR CASSANDRA BLOEDEL
I was Tuba City project manager, Cassandra Lebel, and put out notices for transportation of uranium waste. During this time, certain protocols with state highway cuz of radioactive containers. Radium 226 is always there even though you say it’s only uranium.
It’s important that these communities, even though partnerships, be informed, especially since there are former uranium miners.
We advertised in newspaper and notified state police of routes, time and if vehicle problems, they could not stop at any community.
Your route is how many miles?

URI VICE PRESIDENT FOR HEALTH, SAFETY, ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS MARK S. PELIZZA
The route from Navajo Reservation to Texas is very long. South Texas from here. Amount of radium low and not something considered, but mainly uranium. Details I would be pleased to get you.

NAVAJO EPA ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM SUPERVISOR CASSANDRA BLOEDEL
This is important cuz if accident, the people responding would need to know release.

NAVAJO ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY RESOURCE CONSERVATION & RECOVERY PROGRAM ENVIRONMENTAL SUPERVISOR MICHELE DINEYAZHE
Seems like moving away from section 8 radiation. I want to go back to Delegate Smith’s question and his concern was about what type of exposure is from one truck and to person standing next to vehicle, even driver, what is his exposure.
You are hauling radioactive materials and have to check your statement that radium 226 not concern.
Secondly, start with section 17 remediation before consider section 8 proces.

URI VICE PRESIDENT FOR HEALTH, SAFETY, ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS MARK S. PELIZZA
Everything boils down to data. We have mounds and mounds of detailed data. Our type of resin, radiation measured is not issue worry about because not there. Alpha cannot go through paper.

NAVAJO ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY RESOURCE CONSERVATION & RECOVERY PROGRAM ENVIRONMENTAL SUPERVISOR MICHELE DINEYAZHE
Alpha one of the most dangerous if it is ingested.

SUBCOMMITTEE RECESSES FOR LUNCH

SUBCOMMITTEE BACK FROM LUNCH BUT I HAVE TO ATTEND ANOTHER MEETING. SUBCOMMITTEE IS EXPECTED TO ADJOURN AT 4 P.M.  BUT I WILL DOWNLOAD WHAT I VIDEO TAPED FOR YOUTUBE VIEWING. THANKS FOR TUNING IN AND GETTING INFORMED!

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