NMELCs Uranium Cases.

CASES — URANIUM


Cases are arranged alphabetically, with the exception of affiliated case groupings. The simplest method to find a particular case is to use our search feature, at the top of the page.


Change Uranium from a Locatable to a Leasable Mineral [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
National

Issues:

Change the definition of uranium to a “leasable” mineral from a “locatable” mineral in order to give federal government discretion over whether to permit mining on federal lands.



Latest News:
Case Initiation Date:
March 2010

Clients/Partners:
Earthworks and others

Attorneys:
Eric Jantz

Case Status:
On-going

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Hydro Resources, Inc. uranium mines [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Church Rock, Crownpoint

Issues:

Two decades ago, Crownpoint resident Mitchell Capitan worked as a groundwater technician for the MobilOil pilot-scale in-situ leach (ISL) uranium mine near his home. He saw first-hand, month after month, that MobilOil could not clean up the water that it polluted with the process. (Go to case files)

When he learned that Hydro Resources, Inc. sought to open a new ISL mine near his home, he organized his neighbors into the Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining (ENDAUM – see videos below from two ENDAUM members).  Two years later, in 1996, they approached the New Mexico Environmental Law Center for legal assistance.  We have represented ENDAUM ever since.

It’s been an historic case, with work at the local, state, national and international levels.  The stakes are high: the Westwater Canyon Aquifer currently supplies approximately 15,000 residents of the Eastern Agency of the Navajo Nation.  In addition, the tribal water planners declared that the aquifer will be an important future source of water to meet growing demands in the future.  The mines and processing plant would also add radioactive air emissions to an airshed that already exceeds federal air quality standards for radiation.

If these mines succeed in opening, it will send a chilling message to communities near uranium ore: uranium is worth more than your water…more than your air…more than you and your neighbors.



Latest News:

08/06/2012 - NMELC sends letter to EPA Acting Administrator Coleman regarding aquifer exemption issued to Hydro Resources, Inc. for Church Rock Section 8.

03/08/2012 - Arguments heard on Summary Judgement. Judge decides not to rule on the merits of case because the case is not ripe yet.

10/11/2011 - ENDAUM requests hearing on motion for summary judgment.

09/01/2011 - ENDAUM requests judgment that the NMED has no authority to accept HRI’s application as a discharge permit renewal.

07/15/2011 - NMELC files Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction and supporting documents for client, ENDAUM.

06/27/2011 - On behalf of ENDAUM, NMELC filed a letter demanding New Mexico Environment Department issue a notice to HRI that their discharge permit has not been renewed based on documents obtained that show high-ranking employees of the NMED have been improperly influencing regulatory decisions of the Groundwater Quality Bureau.

05/13/2011 - NMELC files a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights seeking to halt a uranium mining operation in the Navajo villages of Church Rock and Crownpoint, N.M

11/15/2010 - U.S. Supreme Court denies review of decision to allow in situ leach (ISL) uranium mining in the Church Rock and Crownpoint communities.

09/15/2010 - NMELC files an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to allow in situ leach (ISL) uranium mining in the Church Rock and Crownpoint communities.

05/18/2010 - The 10th Federal Circuit Appeals Court denies request for En Banc Rehearing.

04/22/2010 - NMELC files Petition for Panel or En Banc Rehearing to the 10th Federal Circuit Appeals Court.

03/08/2010 - The 10th Federal Circuit Appeals Court in Denver, CO returned with their decision upholding the NRC license allowing HRI to mine for uranium in Crownpoint’s municipal water supply.

05/12/2008 - Oral arguments are heard in 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, CO. Currently we are waiting to hear judges decision.

Case Initiation Date:
September 1996

Clients/Partners:
Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining (ENDAUM) and the Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC)

Attorneys:
Eric Jantz

Case Status:
On-going

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La Sal Uranium Mine Complex [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Moab, UT

Issues:

Represent group in NEPA process for the La Sal Mines Complex.



Latest News:
Case Initiation Date:
March 2012

Clients/Partners:
Uranium Watch

Attorneys:
Eric Jantz

Case Status:
On-going

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Mariano Lake Uranium Mine Superfund Site [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Mariano Lake (Eastern Agency)

Issues:

Help a grassroots group in Mariano Lake Chapter to participate in the U.S. EPA process for designating the Mariano Lake abandoned uranium mine as a Superfund site.



Latest News:
Case Initiation Date:
October 2011

Clients/Partners:
Mariano Lake citizens

Attorneys:
Eric Jantz

Case Status:
On-going

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Moore Ranch ISL Mine (proposed) [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Wyoming (east)

Issues:

Comment on Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) issued by Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for Moor Ranch. SEIS utilizes the Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS).



Latest News:

03/04/2010 - Law Center files comments on the SEIS that was issued by the NRC.

Case Initiation Date:
December 2009

Clients/Partners:
Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC)

Attorneys:
Eric Jantz

Case Status:
On-going

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Mount Taylor Standby Permit [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Mt. Taylor region, near Grants, NM

Issues:

Rio Grande Resources, has applied to the NM Mining and Minerals Division for a fourth standby permit renewal for the inactive Mt. Taylor Mine.  A standby permit allows the mine operator to let the mine remain inactive without having to do any reclamation (clean up). The permit lasts for 5 years. Our clients are challenging the permit application because we believe RGR must do some reclamation rather than leave the mine as is for another five years.



Latest News:

08/27/2013 - Order filed vacating NM Mining Commission’s order and certifying case to Court of Appeals

05/29/2013 - NMELC files a reply to the Commission’s Response to Appellants’ Statement of Issues.

05/10/2013 - NMELC files Request for Hearing. Read press release.

01/24/2013 - Received public notice for Mining and Mineral Division’s review of Rio Grande Resources’ closeout plan and financial assurance.

01/02/2013 - Filed Reply to Rio Grande Resources Corp. Response to Appellate Issues.

12/27/2012 - Filed Reply to NM Mining Commission’s Response and Reply to NM Mining and Minerals Division’s Response to Appellate Issues.

10/22/2012 - Filed Statement of Appellate Issues.

09/20/2012 - NMELC files Appellants’ Motion to Certify Appeal.

01/31/2012 - The NM Mining and Minerals Division Director, Fernando Martinez, approved a 5 year standby permit for the Mt. Taylor Mine. The standby permit will allow Rio Grande Resources to avoid reclaiming the waste piles at the mine site, which have led to groundwater being contaminated with uranium.  The Law Center’s clients are considering whether to appeal Mr. Martinez’s decision. 

09/01/2011 - NMELC files a post hearing submission comments.

08/17/2011 - Public hearing held at the Cibola County Convention Center, in Grants, NM.

05/30/2011 - Public hearing to be held this summer.

08/05/2009 - Client submitted comments on the proposed ground water discharge permit. Currently waiting on response from the New Mexico Environment Department’s Ground Water Bureau.

06/05/2009 - Mount Taylor was permanently listed in the State Register of Cultural Properties by the Cultural Properties Review Committee. To view the final nomination, a map showing the guardian peaks used to establish the TCP boundaries and other related materials, please visit the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division website.

Case Initiation Date:
July 2009

Clients/Partners:
Amigos Bravos and Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE)

Attorneys:
Eric Jantz

Case Status:
On-going

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) ISL GEIS [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Western US

Issues:

We represent our clients in an effort to prevent the NRC from issuing a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) for new in situ leach (ISL) uranium mining in Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota and Wyoming. If approved, the NRC would apply the document to every proposed ISL minesite in those four states, rather than conducting site-specific environmental impact statements.  A Generic EIS would limit public participation in licensing proceedings, and would reduce the type of studies required at each site.  The agency issued a 500-page Draft Generic EIS in July 2008. In August 2008, we successfully petitioned the agency to extend its public comment period by 60 days.  During that time, we conducted an in-depth legal and technical review of the document, and submitted comments in November 2008, with national groups and groups from California, New Mexico and South Dakota signing on.



Latest News:

06/04/2009 - NRC Issues Final Environmental Report on Uranium Recovery Operations, Announces Change in Review Approach Go to press release

11/07/2008 - Comments Submitted on Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement for In-Situ Leach Uranium Milling Facilities on behalf of SRIC, BVDA, ENDAUM and the Haaku Water Office of the Acoma Pueblo, and with the support of other organizations and individuals.

Case Initiation Date:
July 2007

Clients/Partners:
SRIC and ENDAUM

Attorneys:
Eric Jantz

Case Status:
On-going

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Roca Honda discharge permit [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Mt. Taylor

Issues:

Participate in New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) proceeding concerning discharge permit for Roca Honda uranium mine.



Latest News:
Case Initiation Date:
July 2009

Clients/Partners:
Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE)

Attorneys:
Eric Jantz

Case Status:
On-going

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Roca Honda MMD Mining Permit [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Mt. Taylor

Issues:

Participate in first application to Mining and Minerals Division (MMD) for conventional uranium mining permit under NM Mining Act.



Latest News:

11/24/2010 - Roca Honda EIS Scoping Comment Period Open. Get PDF of notice.

Case Initiation Date:
November 2009

Clients/Partners:


Attorneys:
Eric Jantz

Case Status:
On-going

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Roca Honda USFS Plan of Operations/ NEPA Process [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
Mt. Taylor

Issues:

Participate in United State’s Forest Service’s (USFS) proceeding concerning consideration of Strathmore’s Plan of Operations for Roca Honda mine.



Latest News:

06/13/2013 - NMELC files comments with the U. S. Forest Service on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Roca Honda uranium mine. Read press release.

06/12/2013 - The US Environmental Protection Agency files comments on Roca Honda uranium mine Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Case Initiation Date:
July 2009

Clients/Partners:
Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE)

Attorneys:
Eric Jantz

Case Status:
On-going

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Uranium Mine Radon Emissions Standards [Click to view entire case file.]
Location:
National

Issues:

Advocate that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revisit its radon emissions standards for uranium mines under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act (“Sub-part B”), and make the standard more strict.



Latest News:
Case Initiation Date:
November 2010

Clients/Partners:
Uranium Watch

Attorneys:
Eric Jantz

Case Status:
On-going

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