The Navajo Nation Council is pushing for the renewal of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, slated to expire next year. The program currently authorizes financial compensation to those affected by uranium mining on the Reservation, and to ‘Downwinders’, impacted by nuclear testing by the U.S. government in the 1950’s and early 60’s.
A region encompassing southern Utah and northern Arizona is the only part of the country where residents were affected by both actions, according to data from the Department of Justice. Navajo Council Speaker Seth Damon reported this week that a committee is working to assign a lobbyist to the issue in Washington, D.C.
Meanwhile, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public comment as the agency considers issuing a new aquifer protection permit to the Pinyon Plain Mine near Tusayan and the Grand Canyon. Advocates, including the Havasupai Tribe and Sierra Club have continued calls to close the uranium mine, citing contamination issues. A public hearing is slated for August 9th.