New Mexico lawmakers endorse ‘environmental rights’ bill ahead of 2022 Legislative Session

By Adrian Hedden
Carlsbad Current-Argus
November 26, 2021

A group of New Mexico lawmakers endorsed a resolution that would codify into the State’s Constitution the public’s right to a “healthy environment,” citing ongoing concerns for pollution and climate change.

Known as the “Green Amendment,” the legislation was introduced during the previous 2021 Legislative Session, receiving a “do pass” vote from the Senate Rules Committee but stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
It would place into the State’s Bill of Rights language to declare a healthy environment a right of all New Mexicans.

During a recent meeting of the interim Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee, lawmakers from both the House and Senate voted in favor of the resolution on a 6-1 vote.

New Mexico Regulators Approve Shaft at Nuclear Waste Dump

By Associated Press
U.S. News
November 4, 2021

State environmental regulators have cleared the way for work to continue on a multimillion-dollar project at the federal government’s underground nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico.

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — State environmental regulators have cleared the way for work to continue on a multimillion-dollar ventilation shaft at the federal government’s underground nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico.

Ventilation has been an issue since 2014, when a radiation release contaminated parts of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and forced an expensive, nearly three-year closure, delayed the federal government’s cleanup program and prompted policy changes at national laboratories and defense-related sites across the U.S…

Heinrich, Lujan look to support ‘clean’ hydrogen through package of U.S. Senate bills

By Adrian Hedden

Carlsbad Current-Argus
November 4, 2021
New Mexico leaders hope state can be leader in emerging fuel source

New Mexico’s two Democrat U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan continued their pursuit of hydrogen to curb carbon emissions from energy generation, joining in the introduction of a package of bills to support the implementation of hydrogen power in the U.S.

The three bills would create grant funding for hydrogen power projects throughout the U.S. to support development of technology to generate “clean” hydrogen, needed infrastructure and research…

Diné Communities Seek Justice

By Valerie Rangel
Green Fire Times
November 1, 2021

Access to a clean environment is vital to continuation of language and culture for Indigenous communities. The Diné have distinct cultural and spiritual ties to the land. The environment provides subsistence within their traditional homeland. The Diné worldview is that all things are interrelated and interdependent—to exploit or destroy any aspect of creation is to harm one’s self and the balance and harmony of Hózhó. Specific cultural beliefs about uranium instruct that it should not be disturbed…

‘Ignored for 70 years’: human rights group to investigate uranium contamination on Navajo Nation

By Cody Nelson
The Guardian
October 27, 2021

Rita Capitan has been worrying about her water since 1994. It was that autumn she read a local newspaper article about another uranium mine, the Crownpoint Uranium Project, getting under way near her home.

Capitan has spent her entire life in Crownpoint, New Mexico, a small town on the eastern Navajo Nation, and is no stranger to the uranium mining that has persisted in the region for decades. But it was around the time the article was published that she began learning about the many risks associated with uranium mining…

Navajo Uranium Mining Case Reaches Important Milestone with Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

By Gwynne Ann Unruh
The Paper
October 25, 2021

“Much of our lands have been exploited by mining companies for profit; they left it contaminated, doing minimal reclamation or none at all to this day,” Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining (ENDAUM) co-founder Mitchell Capitan said in an Oct. 21 Zoom meeting hosted by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. “Water Is Life, and we will protect it for generations to come.”

Unprecedented reckoning is occurring for the U.S. government and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for past and future uranium mining and milling activities on Indigenous lands. The Navajo Diné people believe the NRC violated their human rights guaranteed in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, including the rights to life, health, benefits of culture, fair trial and property. After years of trying, their united voices are being heard…