Settlement reached to clean up uranium mines - Albuquerque Journal

Settlement reached to clean up uranium mines

FARMINGTON — A settlement for more than $600 million has been reached between the United States, the Navajo Nation and two subsidiaries of Freeport-McMoRan Inc. to address the cleanup of 94 abandoned uranium mines.

The announcement was made this week in a press release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Eric Kinneberg, spokesman for Freeport-McMoRan, said in a statement to The Daily Times that the decree is the culmination of an extensive negotiating process that started years ago between the company, the EPA and the Justice Department.

“It will allow all parties to cooperatively address an environmental issue that has long been an important concern to the Navajo people and, furthermore, will provide job opportunities for members of the Navajo Nation for environmental investigation and remediation work at 94 former uranium mine sites,” Kinneberg said.

The EPA release states that under the settlement, Cyrus Amax and Western Nuclear, both Freeport-McMoRan subsidiaries, have agreed to perform removal site evaluations, engineering evaluations and cost analyses.

In return, the U.S. has agreed to place $335 million into a trust account to help fund the cleanup.

The EPA will collaborate with the tribe’s environmental agency to oversee the work, the release states.

Of the 94 mines, 77 are mines under Freeport-McMoRan and 17 are nearby mines the company agreed to clean up, according to a press release issued Thursday by the Navajo Nation Office of President and Vice President.

The settlement resolves the claims by the U.S. against Cyprus Amax and Western Nuclear and claims by the tribe against the U.S. and the two entities.

It also resolves claims by both companies against the U.S., the release states.

The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by a federal court, the release from the EPA states.

As of Friday, the comment period was yet to be scheduled.

Information about the public comment period, including how to submit a comment, is available at justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees.

“We appreciate the efforts of mining companies like Freeport that are coming forth to clean up the uranium contamination that they have caused on the Navajo Nation,” said Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye in the release from his office.

According to the EPA, a number of private entities mined about 30 million tons of uranium ore on or near the Navajo Nation between 1994 and 1986.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.

——

©2017 The Daily Times (Farmington, N.M.)

Visit The Daily Times (Farmington, N.M.) at www.daily-times.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

_____

Home » Business » Energy » Settlement reached to clean up uranium mines

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
3 is the key: Lobos aim to cool hot-shooting ...
ABQnews Seeker
The Lobos have been good defending ... The Lobos have been good defending 3-pointers this season, but Utah State leads the nation in 3-point percentage.
2
New Mexico congressional reps assigned spots on high-profile committees
ABQnews Seeker
State's 'unique and vital role' in ... State's 'unique and vital role' in national security noted
3
How much do elected officials in Albuquerque and Bernalillo ...
ABQnews Seeker
Here's how much Mayor Tim Keller ... Here's how much Mayor Tim Keller and other elected officials in the city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County make annually.
4
Albuquerque police ID 4 recent homicide victims
ABQnews Seeker
Detectives have released the names of ... Detectives have released the names of three men and one woman killed in separate incidents in January around Albuquerque. Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque police ...
5
Three Albuquerque seniors tackle the Roundhouse
ABQnews Seeker
What were you doing your senior ... What were you doing your senior year of high school? Albuquerque Academy seniors Noor Ali, Sophia Liem and Mireya Macías are pushing their first ...
6
Alec Baldwin and armorer charged with involuntary manslaughter in ...
ABQnews Seeker
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed told authorities Alec Baldwin ... Hannah Gutierrez-Reed told authorities Alec Baldwin had failed to attend required firearms training during the filming of “Rust,” so she had requested an hourlong ...
7
Four arrested after woman loses eye to stray bullet ...
ABQnews Seeker
An innocent bystander lost one of ... An innocent bystander lost one of her eyes after being struck in the face by a stray bullet last week while driving on East ...
8
The Mars Volta in ABQ? Find out when they ...
ABQnews Seeker
The Mars Volta are back. After ... The Mars Volta are back. After 10 years away, the duo released its self-titled album in Sept. 2022 — the duo's seventh studio album. ...
9
Quezada files ethics complaints against colleagues
ABQnews Seeker
Bernalillo County's ethics board has another ... Bernalillo County's ethics board has another two cases on its docket. County Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada last week filed a pair of complaints against ...