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‘Half-Life of the American Dream’

By October 1, 2014Uncategorized

By Rosanne Boyett | Cibola Beacon
GRANTS – Area residents are invited to watch the award-winning film “Uranium Drive-In” and to participate in the community forum that follows.
The documentary has won eight prestigious awards. The film describes the pros and cons of the uranium-mining industry’s boom-and-bust cycle.
“This is a great film because it gives both sides of the story,” explained Talia Boyd, Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund (CVNMEF) organizer. “Northwestern New Mexico has an extensive legacy of uranium mining, but we hear very little of the adverse impacts it has left behind in our rural towns.”
She recalled that large audiences had attended the screenings held in Gallup and Acoma earlier this year. The proposed in situ uranium mines on Navajo Tribal lands and the recent designation of the Jack Pile mine by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) as a Superfund site have spurred community members to learn more about the long-term effects on the environment and the people who are exposed to the hazards involved in mining.
Boyd described some of the reactions from younger Acoma residents who wanted to know about the Jack Pile mine’s history and legacy.
“What can we do?” asked several high school students.
“Become more knowledgeable about the environmental consequences; learn about the benefits and costs of uranium mining.” responded Boyd
“Mount Taylor represents our spirit as indigenous people,” said the CVNMEF representative. “I urge young people to help community members understand the threats to our spiritual wellness, which defines tribal identity.”
The proposed Roca Honda mine has raised additional concerns about Mount Taylor, which is a sacred site for numerous Native American tribes in the Southwest.
Boyd pointed out that a growing number of residents have expressed concerns about climate change.  She noted that conversations are taking place across the U.S. and around the world about the costs and benefits of utilizing nuclear energy as an alternative to carbon-based fuels.
CVNMEF is providing area residents with opportunities to weigh the costs and benefits of proposed mining operations and to learn more about efforts to remediate existing waste sites.
“Uranium Drive-In” demonstrates the trade-offs and divisions that can occur when communities wrestle with ways to foster economic growth, according to Sundance Institute officials.
This film, which is subtitled as “Half Life of the American Dream,” and the showing of “Yellow Fever” are part of the organization’s public forum series.
“Yellow Fever” will be shown on PBS stations later this fall and CVNMEF is planning to host a local showing in early 2015, according to Boyd.
“Protecting our air, land, and water begins with the people of New Mexico. It is vital that communities most affected by uranium legacy contamination, like Grants, come together to talk about these issues,” emphasized Boyd.
She encouraged community members to attend the free event, which will be hosted by the CVNMEF, on Thursday, Oct. 2, from 6 – 8 p.m., at Future Foundations Family Center, 551 Washington Ave., Grants.
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