NMELC in the News

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…

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‘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…

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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…

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Navajo group alleges U.S. violated human rights in uranium mine licensing

By Hannah Grover
New Mexico Political Report
October 22, 2021

With historic uranium mine sites already polluting communities, members of the Navajo Nation have been fighting for 27 years to stop a new mining initiative from starting in the Crownpoint and Church Rock areas.

On Thursday, the Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining took that fight to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, arguing that the United States and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s approval of Hydro Resources Inc. mines violated the human rights of Navajo Nation residents…

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Human rights panel will hear case claiming US regulators violated Navajo tribe’s rights: report

By Monique Beals
The Hill
October 21, 2021
A group representing Navajo communities reportedly filed testimony and exhibits on Thursday as it prepares to present its case involving uranium contamination to an international human rights body.

The group will assert to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that U.S. regulators violated the rights of tribal members by permitting uranium mining in New Mexico, The Washington Post reported…

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Human rights panel to hear Navajo uranium contamination case

By Susan Montoya Bryan
Washington Post
October 21, 2021

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A group representing Navajo communities is presenting its case to an international human rights body, saying U.S. regulators violated the rights of tribal members when they cleared the way for uranium mining in western New Mexico.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights based in Washington, D.C., decided earlier this year that the petition filed a decade ago by Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining was admissible. With additional testimony and exhibits being filed Thursday, the commission is expected to hold a hearing in the spring….

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Diné Organization Files Petition Against United States, Citing Human Rights Violations

By Darren Thompson
Native News Online
October 21, 2021

For decades, the people on Navajo Nation have had no drinking water, due to uranium mining. Today, the Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining (ENDAUM) submitted the additional documents needed for a petition it filed in 2011 against the United States over the issue, to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. 

In a Washington Post Live program on Tuesday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said up to forty percent of Navajo people do not have running water or electricity in their homes, including his own family.“

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Navajo group claims uranium mining violates its human rights

By Theresa Davis 
Albuquerque Journal
October 21, 2021

Christine Smith, a first grade teacher at Crownpoint Elementary in northwest New Mexico, lives a few hundred feet from a processing plant for a proposed uranium mine.

Smith said she worries about how a revival of uranium mining in the region could affect the health of her students and family.

“Even though the mining companies kept coming back and saying it was a safe process … we’ve seen many accidents in the past,” Smith said. “No company will ever convince me that one process is 100% safe.”…

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Nation reaffirms its stance against uranium mining

By Donovan Quintero
Navajo Times
October 20, 2021

A uranium mining company has been granted a license to mine for uranium ore.

Jonathan Perry, director for the Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining, said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted uranium mining called NuFuel, a subsidiary of the Canadian mining company Laramie Resources, a license begin mining uranium in Church Rock and Crownpoint…

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We are not disposable’; Diné group files claim of human rights abuses

By Kathy Helms 
Gallup Independent
October 20, 2021
CHURCHROCK – Grassroots members of Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining figured out more than a decade ago that the only recourse for holding the federal government accountable for human rights abuses related to uranium extraction on tribal lands was to take the matter to the international arena. Which they did.

ENDAUM petitioned the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights alleging that when the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensed Hydro Resources Inc., now known as NuFuels, to operate uranium mining in the Navajo communities of Churchrock and Crownpoint, it violated human rights guaranteed in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. Those include the rights to life, health, benefits of culture, fair trial, and property…

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Groups Worry about New Mexico Governor’s Hydrogen Hub Plan

By Cedar Attanasio
Associated Press
October 5, 2021

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A coalition of environmental groups are raising concerns about Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s plans to turn New Mexico into a hydrogen fuel hub.

The Democrat, who is running for reelection, has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at least 45% by 2030 as compared to 2005 levels…

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What’s Next for the Santolina Development?

Water War Leaves Community Determined to Defend Sustainable Development and Water Rights

by The Paper. Staff

September 1st, 2021 

“Masterpiece Theater” couldn’t put more drama into a scene. It’s a David and Goliath confrontation from time immemorial. Bernalillo County Commissioners were rehearing an appeal for a zone change from agricultural to the planned community they voted for eight years ago that was remanded back to them by the New Mexico State Supreme Court….

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New Mexico Environmentalists Cheer Judge Tossing Trump-Era Water Rule

by Scott Wyland, Santa Fe New Mexican

August 31, 2021

A federal judge has struck down a Trump-era rule that removed federal protections from nearly all of New Mexico’s waters, a court decision that environmentalists said was vital while the Biden administration works through a lengthy process to create a new water rule.

U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Marquez on Monday wrote the Trump rule contained serious errors and, echoing conservationists’ concerns, argued it would cause “serious environmental harm” to the nation’s waterways if left in place.

Known as the navigable waters rule, it only protected waterways that flow year-round or seasonally and connect to another body of water….

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Group Continues Long History of Battling Uranium Mining

‘Additional observations’ being accepted in human rights petition

By Kathy Helms, Gallup Independent

Special correspondent, khelms@gallupindependent.com

August 23, 2021

CROWNPOINT – Jonathan Perry had been with the Navajo grassroots organization Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining about four months prior to the group filing a petition with an international human rights body alleging the United States violated members human rights by licensing uranium mining activities in their communities.

A decade later, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights accepted ENDAUM’s petition. It is only the second time the commission has found admissible a case of environmental justice against the United States. The first case involved environmental racism in Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley,” according to the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, which represents ENDAUM….

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Commissioners to Rehear Santolina Development Appeal

Santolina Developments’ Ducks Aren’t in a Row and They Have No Water to Swim In

By Gwynne Ann Unruh, The Paper.

August 17, 2021 

El Agua No Se Vende, El Agua Se Defiende. Water is Not for Sale; We Will Always Rise to Defend Our Precious Water. New Mexicans are passionate about their water, and with good reason. Water can be here today and gone tomorrow in a high mountain desert climate where, during a drought, monsoons can go MIA and rivers can run dry for years. Many elected officials have begun taking into account the conditions of climate change and being in a long-term, 20-year megadrought and how that will affect decisions they make.

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