Thursday, October 28, 2021

Play

Authorities say the projectile that killed a cinematographer on a film set was a live round, plus Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court will hear arguments about the fairness of the state's school funding system.

Play

Republicans skewer President Biden over rising energy prices, Biden taps Washington GOP Secretary of State Kim Wyman to oversee election security, and the U.S. pushes to have WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange extradited.

Play

Heeding grandma's advice on COVID vaccine; restoring traditional health practices in native communities; agri-therapy for veterans suffering post-traumatic stress; and how myths, monsters and legends spur tourism. Available for download every Wednesday at 3pm MT.

Utes Fear Uranium Mill is Becoming Radioactive Waste Dump

Play

Wednesday, September 30, 2020   

WHITE MESA, Utah -- Native tribes and environmental groups alike are worried that a Utah uranium-processing mill is becoming a dumping ground for foreign industrial polluters -- and that regulators are doing nothing to stop it.

The White Mesa Uranium Mill in San Juan County has begun accepting tons of radioactive waste from other countries. The mill's owner claims the shipments are uranium ore for processing, but Tim Peterson, cultural landscapes program director for the Grand Canyon Trust, said less than 1% of the material from nations such as Estonia and Japan becomes treated uranium. The rest is destined for the waste pits.

"They view it as waste, but when it comes into the U.S., it's regarded as something that the mill can accept and process without any sort of licensing, without any public notice, without any public comment," he said. "We're concerned that the White Mesa mill not become the world's radioactive waste dump."

Peterson said the nearby Ute Mountain Ute tribe fears toxic pollution will spread to their native lands and the nearby Bears Ears National Monument. A Utah Department of Environmental Quality spokesman said the White Mesa mill currently meets all state and federal licensing requirements.

Peterson contended that Utah officials, who regulate the site for the federal government, have become too close to the uranium-mining industry and are turning a blind eye to the mill's operations.

"We're concerned with the concept or the process of 'sham recycling,' which is where something that's considered waste in one location becomes something to recycle for uranium content when it arrives at the White Mesa mill," he said.

Peterson said tribal leaders are especially concerned that the radioactive waste can't be safely contained in White Mesa's 350-acre waste field.

"The Ute Mountain Ute/White Mesa community is down-gradient from the mill," he said, "and while I can't speak for them, I know that they're concerned about the degradation of their water quality, as well as air quality and materials that they have to breathe."

He said the mill opened in the late 1970s to process low-grade uranium ore. He added that federal nuclear regulators ruled in 2010 that an import license is required to process materials from foreign countries for disposal, but said there's no record of the mill obtaining such a permit.

The UDEQ letter is online at grandcanyontrust.org.


get more stories like this via email

In a new poll, just 10% of Marylanders said they disapproved of Gov. Larry Hogan's handling of COVID-19. (Marylandgovpics/Flickr)

Health and Wellness

BALTIMORE, Md. -- As the drive for Marylanders to get COVID-19 booster shots continues, a new poll found a huge swath of residents said they are …


Social Issues

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa -- New FBI data show an increase in hate crimes in Iowa. Locally, ordinances have been crafted to ensure more protections for …

Environment

SALT LAKE CITY -- If you went camping on Utah's public lands this past summer, you were not alone, literally. A new survey shows a major increase …


To draw Hollywood to New Mexico, the state reimburses filmmakers 25% of everything they spend. (riograndefoundation.org)

Social Issues

SANTA FE, N.M. -- The sheriff of Santa Fe County said the projectile that killed a cinematographer on a movie set last week was a "suspected live …

Social Issues

MADISON, Wis. -- Details are still being sorted out in the Biden administration's spending plan for boosting social programs. In Wisconsin, those …

The school-funding lawsuit will be heard in the Pennsylvania Judicial Center in Harrisburg and is expected to run through December. (Wikimedia Commons)

Social Issues

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- With nearly two weeks to go until the Commonwealth Court hears arguments about whether Pennsylvania's school funding system is …

Social Issues

DENVER -- Farm to School programs are beginning to bounce back after last year's COVID closures, and more than half the state's 178 school districts …

Health and Wellness

NEW YORK -- Although New York and the country as a whole saw some progress surrounding the health of children and women, a new report showed there is …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021