Here at Navajo council Resources & Development Committee’s Subcommi ttee on a Proposed agreement between the Navajo Nation and URI/Uranium Resources Inc. of Texas for URI to conduct a demonstration project involving In-Situ Uranium Mining near Church Rock, N.M. Before I go any further, please excuse all typos and grammar errors and misspelling because I’m typing as fast as I can from this meeting at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Ariz. Subcommittee member are Chairperson Leonard Tsosie and Vice Chairperson Leonard Pete.
URI CHRISTOPHER JONES
14 days to develop uranium cleanup standards with assistance of Navajo Envrionmental Protection Agency. We have data from other nuclear fuel processors that deal with similar health effects. We’ll propose how will study and what solutions look like.
NEPA DIRECTOR STEPHEN ETSITTY
Standards go back when uranium first discussed for industry. but health impacts so far behind. and not until afterward when got hands into then learned of health effects and Navajo last to get health info that ther were long term effects. Other parts to understand about standards is USEPA develops from public health base. Since NEPA created, Navajo always on shortend cuz of risk basis often is based on health studies of other populations cuz need big health study. So health studies done other places and useful but not reflective of navajo reservation. if we do own studies then make sure science supported and structure of study account for population so if can’t get people involved then get data. We argue with USEPA about this and we have always been interested in comprehensive health standards but becomes matter of resources and look to partner with pple that bring resources. but many of standards today are carryovers of era when no eye to cleanup but reclaiming and standards arbitrary and not health based and scientific. today we spend more time chartogorzing sites and loking at sites not contaminated as standards for cleanup. When we first strted focusing in on specific site, USEPS didn’t support but when looked at canyon areas as impt for hatathlis for herbs and other cultural standards. we only got to that standard by breaking down barriers between ourselves and USEPA. And GE opposed cuz wanted less stringent standards but thru discussions reasoned why have higher standard in northeast Shiprock. They came thru here once and did reclamation at best either under New Mexico or U.S. in late 70s, 80s and thru 90s but since talking to USEPA, we have started to get understanding of how we set standards. But these are not arbitrary. we have scientific base and can defend in court. We have the beginnings of an acceptance from companies like GE, Chevron. Everything we do here, like law, when good decision for Indian Country, everyone benefits. But if bad then impacts entire Indian Country. So we need to be really really thorough. But so far we have set good precedence.
i attended one class to control erosion and runoff but problem was all data from west coast. can come up with standard but if use other data from other part of country. can’t talk wooden shoe frm Holland and walk on it here on reservation.
has there ever been cleanup and how successful?
one mine cleanup is non uranium mine. we set field screening level like Church Rock. that is complete. El Paso was responsible company but US Dept of Energy funding.
Wat about Ambrosia Lake? that was uranium. what was standard? was NEPA involved to learn?
We track. as far as DOE standards, those were developed under radiation control act and lot of thse standards, especially for groundwater, reflect groundwater standards so we look at how they set their standards and see wat we can use from that process but wen get to clenup at our sites, we see opportunity to do better than DOE. we also have reviewed problems at DOE sites from engineering perspective. Caps were touted in 80s. caps contain radon but do poor job of keeping out water, seepage of water into cells and contamination of groundwater. we look at DOE and c wat do well and don’t do.
it’s !:45 p.m. and two other issues. so do we agree to work together for 14 days for standard.
I want to add data from Australia, Northern Saskatskawan to develop process, not standard.
as far as know, for navajo, it is vital that comprehensive health study include navajo people, be cultural relavant, navajo based. and there is need for more than 14 days.
if navajo so interested why haven’t you done?
no money. did one. and we have found that people sensitive. USDOE and Nuclear Regulatory Agency standard lower and that not beneficial for navajo people, especially children.
NEPA DIRECTOR ETSITTY
it took us ten yeras to work out with NDOJ for NEPA to generate revenues thru businesses that generate hazardous materials. Oil and GAs interest in four corners sued to stop tariffs for uranium cleanup. but got settlement so working on implementing tariff and have resources to do what is long overdue. and also tell U.S. that we have these funds and they need to match funding. hope get new regulations in next two years so put tariff money into account for health studies to build program.