Monday, August 21, 2017

EPA, New Mexico officials tour uranium-contaminated sites

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Ron Curry joined New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn and New Mexico Energy, Mineral and Natural Resources Department representative David Martin, as well as other state and Navajo Nation officials, in a tour late last week of areas undergoing cleanup from uranium mining contamination.

The two-day tour of uranium mines in the Grants Mining District Superfund site, an area that sits on both state and Navajo Nation land, allowed Curry to see areas where progress is being made. His visit began with a meeting with representatives of the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE) and Bluewater Valley Downstream Alliance (BVDA) to discuss ongoing cleanup efforts.

For the field visits, Curry and New Mexico officials visited an area in the San Mateo Basin, west of Mount Taylor; the Poison Canyon area; the village of San Mateo; and the area around Ambrosia Lake, which recently saw the EPA remove almost 7,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil. Curry also toured areas of the Navajo Nation, including the Pueblo of Laguna, and the Jackpile-Pagute Superfund Site.

The area’s contamination stems from the transportation of uranium ore, during which contaminated debris fell from trucks and was spread throughout the region.

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