Case Work: Land

Red Water Pond Community Uranium Cleanup

LOCATION: Red Water Pond Community, NM
INITIATION DATE: September 2014
CLIENTS/PARTNERS: Red Water Pond Road Community Association
OPPOSING PARTIES: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
STATUS: Ongoing
ATTORNEYS: Eric Jantz, Maslyn Locke


Red Water Pond Road Community is a Diné Settlement located among three abandoned Cold War-era uranium mine and mill waste sites. 6″ of radioactive dirt in residents’ yards were scraped up and hauled away in 2007, but residents still deal with radioactive air emissions and water pollution. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refuses to relocate families to a safe culturally-appropriate location until their homes are made livable. NMELC represents members of the community in negotiations with the EPA, and in developing strategies to protect health and resources.


01/14/2019 -The Law Center, on behalf of the Red Water Pond Road Community Association, filed a report with the Human Rights Committee charging the United States with violating civil and political rights of minority and indigenous communities affected by decades of uranium mining and milling. The report states that the United States is in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. From the report: “The United States’ historic and current practice in remediating radioactive and toxic waste in minority communities generally, and indigenous communities specifically, reveals a pattern of disparate impacts on minority and indigenous communities resulting in abrogation of the rights to life, family, exercise of culture, and freedom from discrimination.”
11/27/2018 – “Uranium: A Toxic Legacy at Red Water Pond Road” podcast by Ellen Berkovitch for Northern California Public Media’s Living Downstream series on National Public Radio (NPR).
07/14/2018 – Annual Church Rock Tailings Spill Memorial Walk and Community Meeting. Read the story by Leah Cantor, a volunteer at the Law Center, who attended the event.
08/21/2017 – EPA budget cuts threaten to slow uranium cleanup at Navajo Nation – Read the full article at