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McKinley Co Commission moves forward on ordinance!

By December 19, 2016January 10th, 2023Press Releases, Uranium Mining & Waste, McKinley

Thank you for showing your support for McKinley County residents as they ask their leaders to adopt an ordinance to “pause” uranium mining to create space for community dialogue.

Before Tuesday’s meeting, the Commissioners received a letter from Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, who voiced opposition to the moratorium. When his office commented publicly at the meeting, the community rebutted each claim – and Dunn’s office had no response. Despite his attempts to intimidate the Commission, they decided to move forward with the ordinance by holding another public hearing on Jan. 10. That means there’s still time for you to add your name to urge McKinley County decision-makers to adopt the ordinance.>>

Thank you for standing in solidarity with communities impacted by legacy uranium waste as they come together to create a new vision.

– Molly

In McKinley and Cibola counties, communities are still grappling with the impacts of uranium mining that took place decades ago. The fact is, hundreds of abandoned uranium mining wastes and tailings piles still await cleanup, due to scarce federal superfund cleanup funding. As ongoing community concerns about the need for extensive remediation grows, so has the debilitating realization that there is an absence of health studies in contaminated communities.

That’s why I have been working with the community and organizational partners like McKinley Place Matters to bring attention to the health impacts of mining on families across Western New Mexico. In 2014, we forged a partnership to implement a community health impact assessment (HIA) process to shine light on the health issues that families in the Grants Mining District are living with every day. The HIA has spurred community conversations about local policy solutions – like a McKinley County-wide moratorium to allow the county to assess impacts uranium mining might have on the county.

Now, the community is asking the McKinley County Commission to consider a temporary “pause” to make space for the community to come together and have these conversations. Add your name as a New Mexican who supports the community for standing up for their health and urge the commission to support the ordinance at their Dec. 13 meeting.»

As a result of community conversations around an ordinance, CVNM-EF joined McKinley Place Matters, the Native American Voters Alliance, the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment, and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center to work together to deliberate a county-level policy calling for just that: a temporary moratorium on mining to allow for the county to consider strengthening local law to protect communities from pollution and other impacts from future mining.

The HIA process involved training and interviewing impacted community members in communities like Red Water Pond that have legacy uranium waste sites located directly in their community. The results of the HIA process found that families living around and near legacy waste sites reported higher incidences of diseases, like kidney disease, respiratory problems and cancer.

Thanks to efforts by our sister organization, Conservation Voters New Mexico, and a locally contracted lobbyist, the policy has been introduced at the county level for discussion. CVNM-EF continues to educate the community about the need for health studies, and provide the community trainings and public forums to help communities engage in the decision-making process. Will you join us in showing your support for the ordinance by encouraging the McKinley County Commission to move forward with the process? Add your name!»