Another Settlement For Navajo Nation Abandoned Mines Cleanup

Jan 18, 2017

 

An abandoned uranium mine on the Navajo reservation in Cameron, Ariz., emits dangerous levels of radiation.
Credit Joshua Lott for The New York Times

The federal government has reached another settlement for cleanup work at abandoned uranium mines across the Navajo Nation.

The U.S. Justice Department, Environmental Protection Agency and tribe announced a settlement agreement Tuesday with two affiliated subsidiaries of Freeport-McMoRan for the cleanup of 94 abandoned uranium mines on the vast reservation.

The mining operations stretched from western New Mexico into Arizona and southern Utah. The last uranium mine shut down in 1986.

Under a proposed consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, Cyprus Amax Minerals Company and Western Nuclear Inc. will perform the work and the federal government will contribute about half of the more than $600 million cleanup costs.

Funds are committed to begin the cleanup process at more than 200 abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation.