MASE Report to UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

RESPONSE TO THE PERIODIC REPORT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TO THE UNITED NATIONS COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION 

July 1, 2014

“There are two primary issues related to uranium mining and processing upon which CERD mandates bear.

First, uranium mine and mill waste clean-up is conducted relatively quickly in predominantly non-minority communities, but waste continues to fester in minority communities causing significant health and environmental impacts.

Second, even in light of the extensive radioactive and toxic contamination in minority communities throughout the western U.S., the U.S. government and state governments continue to issue licenses and permits for new uranium mining and processing operations in impacted communities. ”

Click here to download a pdf of the MASE CERD Report:MASE CERD Shadow Report FINAL

Click here to download a pdf of the one page summary of MASE CERD Report:MASE 1 PAGER

Nuclear Free Zone Declaration for Northwest New Mexico/Grants Uranium Belt

NUCLEAR FREE ZONE DECLARATION

for Northwest New Mexico/Grants Uranium Belt

Uranium mining and milling activities in the Grants Uranium Belt of New Mexico form a critical link in the nuclear fuel chain that supplies nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons development. Radioactivity is released at every stage in the nuclear fuel chain, including uranium mining and milling.

The 1872 Mining Act, originally created to help small miners has become a form of corporate welfare, and has turned cultural landscapes throughout the United States into National Sacrifice Areas, where local communities have been disregarded and the need for ongoing reclamation has resulted in a legacy of contaminated air, water and soil.

Legacy contamination from historic mining and milling in the Grants Mining District has not been completely assessed, nor has the region has been restored to pre-mining and milling conditions.

Whereas: Uranium legacy contamination poisons our water, land, and lives through ongoing radioactive releases that will continue to plague our cultural landscape and future generations,

There are better job opportunities for local populations in cleaning up the existing legacy of contamination and exploring alternative energy economies,

A 2011 National Academy of Science report has made it clear that there is no “safe level” of human exposure to radiation,

Past and present generations residing in the Grants Mining District have been disproportionately affected by uranium mining and milling activities that went unregulated for at least two decades,

Aquifers and waterways contaminated by uranium mining and milling can never be fully restored to pre-mining and milling conditions,

The continued removal of uranium from regional aquifers will result in a permanent loss of water from these deep water sources,

Renewed uranium mining in the Grants Uranium Belt will jeopardize the public health, natural ecosystems, and traditional cultural landscapes by further degrading our air and water quality,

The toxic waste generated from new uranium mining and milling will create an additional legacy for future generations,

Uranium mining violates our basic human rights to a clean and usable water supply, endangers our many traditional cultures, the public health, and interferes with the natural cycles of Earth and Water.

We are committed to protect and restore our shared water resources that are so critical to our continued survival in an arid desert environment, our quality of life, and multi-cultural preservation,

Therefore: We, the undersigned, join a growing global movement to limit the use of nuclear power and transform National Sacrifice Areas into Nuclear Free Zones.

We endorse the development of renewable energy sources that sustain- not destroy- our public lands, multi-cultural landscapes, and natural ecosystems.

We will provide direction to our lawmakers and private industry to invest in renewable, clean energy that conserves and protects our forests, watersheds and cultures.

We further encourage investment and job creation in the cleanup of the historic uranium legacy contamination that still exists within our shared watersheds.

We further urge all federal and state regulatory agencies to promote the right to a clean, sustainable water sources within their jurisdictions as an element of their public trust to further the best interests of the public welfare, including those poor, minority populations already overburdened by legacy contamination from uranium mining and milling in the Grants Mining District.

We urge the United States Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division not to approve any new mining plans of operation on public lands in New Mexico until the complete reclamation of ground water, soil, and air contamination from historic uranium mining in the Grants Mining District is fully achieved.

In Conclusion, We, the undersigned, pledge to work in solidarity with all people who wish to break free of their nuclear fuel chains and dependency on non-renewable, polluting sources of energy and move towards the development of renewable and sustainable energy that does not threaten the public health, public water supplies, or our special landscapes.

Adopted by Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment on October 12, 2012.

Click here to download a pdf of the Declaration:  NFZ Declaration.final

 

Testimonies of Human Rights at Home

A Report by the US Human Rights Network on their Human Rights Hearings

Documenting Injustice in the United States

US Human Rights Network

New Mexico

In July 2014 USHRN held two hearings and tours in New Mexico (Gallup and Albuquerque) that were co-sponsored by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, the SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP), and the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE) (with their core group of alliances: Bluewater Valley Downstream Alliance (BVDA); Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining (ENDAUM); Laguna-Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment (LACSE); Post-71 Uranium Workers Committee (Post ’71); Red Water Pond Road Community Association (RWPRCA)). Thirty-five years after the Church Rock uranium spill (the largest nuclear accident in U.S. history in terms of radiation released and land impacted) devastated communities across New Mexico, the hearings gave those directly impacted by the spill and continued environmental injustices, caused by the uranium mining and milling industry, and other human rights violations an opportunity to share their experiences and join the growing U.S. human rights movement. The tour included a visit to the Acoma Pueblo, the Grants/Milan areas, and the Churchrock and Red Water Pond communities and Peoples. While in Albuquerque, the tour included visiting communities plagued by the environmental racism of multiple industries polluting. The panel of local and national distinguished human rights experts that attended the tour and hearings in New Mexico included: Ejim Dike, Executive Director, US Human Rights Network; Gay J. McDougall, Mulligan Distinguished Visiting Professor of International Law, Fordham University School of Law, formerly UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues and UN CERD Committee Member; Ron Davis, CEO, Jordan Davis Foundation; Marleine Bastein, Executive Director, Haitian Women of Miami, FANM & 2013 USHRN Human Rights Movement Builders Award Winner; and Petuuche Gilbert, Acoma Pueblo, Indigenous World Association.

Click her to download a pdf of the report: Testimonies of Human Rights at Home – Documenting Injustice in the United States

Roca Honda Mine Supplement to the Draft EIS — Comments April 2015

RE: Roca Honda Mine Supplement to the Draft EIS Comments 

Dear Supervisor Kohrman and Acting State Director Seidlitz:

Pursuant to the Forest Service’s February 20, 2015 Interested Parties letter, please accept these comments on the Supplement to the Roca Honda Uranium Mine (Mine) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) from the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE), submitted by their undersigned counsel. Two computer discs containing the noted attached documents to be included in the administrative record are being mailed to your office today as well. MASE is a non-profit coalition of organizations from uranium impacted communities working to protect their communities from further damage from uranium mining and milling and to ensure clean-up of legacy uranium waste.

Click here to download pdf of MASE comments: MASE Roca Honda Alternative 4 Scoping Comments final 4-17-15

The State to Decide Whether Zombie Uranium Mine Can Continue Polluting at Public Hearing on May 1

“It’s neither producing uranium nor is it cleaning up its existing mess – it’s simply festering.” 
Susan Gordon, coordinator for MASE


GRANTS, N.M.
— On May 1, the New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division will hold a public hearing on whether the Mt. Taylor uranium mine can remain on standby status and continue to pollute the surrounding environment. The hearing is open to the public and people will be given an opportunity to give comments.

The Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE) – a network of groups located in the Grants Mining Belt of New Mexico – will present testimony on living with the impacts of toxic pollution from the Mt. Taylor Mine.  MASE will also present testimony on the failure of the mine’s owner, Rio Grande Resources (RGR), to conduct interim reclamation at the mine site and the company’s unreasonable predictions of economic viability of the mine in the face of a continued depressed uranium market.

“Mt. Taylor is a zombie mine,” says Susan Gordon, coordinator for MASE. “It’s neither producing uranium nor is it cleaning up its existing mess – it’s simply festering. It hasn’t operated in 25 years and pretending that it will operate in the future just prevents real cleanup in our communities. It is time for the Mining and Minerals Division to require reclamation of all uranium mine sites in New Mexico.”

A subsidiary of General Atomics, RGR’s Mt. Taylor Mine has not produced an ounce of uranium since 1990.  Since then the operator has repeatedly received standby permits which allows the mine to sit idle. The mine was productive for a total of eight years but since it stopped producing, the toxic waste piles and infrastructure have been left idle and exposed.

“In order to continue standby status, RGR must show the mine will be economically viable during the standby period,” says Eric Jantz, staff attorney at the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. “But every credible source indicates that current uranium production will satisfy any demand for years to come.  This mine will not produce uranium anytime soon. RGR should start creating high paying jobs by starting reclamation right now.”

Previously, the Mining and Minerals Division approved a standby permit despite documented groundwater contamination at the mine and no prospects for renewed production.

        WHEN:    10:00 AM, Friday, May 1, 2015

        WHERE:    Cibola County Convention Center, 515 West High Street, Grants, NM 87505 (map)