Skip to content

With First Native Interior Secretary, Deb Haaland, Hope Grows U.S. Will Confront Toxic Uranium Legacy via Democracy Now!

Deb Haaland, a tribal citizen of the Laguna Pueblo, is being sworn in as secretary of the interior and will be the first Native American ever to serve in a U.S. presidential cabinet. Just four Republicans joined Democrats in voting to confirm Haaland, who will manage 500 million acres of federal and tribal land. Haaland will also oversee government relations with 574 federally recognized tribal nations and is expected to address the legacy of uranium mining on Indigenous land and other areas. Leona Morgan, a Diné anti-nuclear activist and community organizer, says that while it’s “impossible to expect one person to correct the centuries of racism and policy that have really devastated our people,” there is hope that Haaland will use her power to make important changes. “She will be held accountable,” Morgan says.


AMY GOODMAN: One major issue facing Deb Haaland as interior secretary will be addressing the legacy of uranium mining on Native land and other areas. Thousands of inactive and toxic uranium mines have poisoned Native land and water for decades, many of the mines used to extract uranium for the U.S. massive nuclear arms arsenal. In 2019, a University of New Mexico study found that about a quarter of Navajo women and some infants had high levels of the radioactive metal in their bodies, even though nearby uranium mining had ended decades ago. Last year, Congressmember Haaland was recognized with a Nuclear-Free Future Award for her efforts to address the impacts of uranium mining in the Southwest.

REP. DEB HAALAND: We’ve seen it firsthand in my home state of New Mexico. Uranium mining harms the health of our population, the environment, and has hurt our economy. The U.S. government has refused to clean up the mess they’ve made in New Mexico. In 2018, when I was elected, I knew this would be an issue that I would fight for. I’ve called on the U.S. government to clean up mining sites, compensate uranium workers and rectify the wrong that has been done to Indigenous communities. And I’m not going to let up. I’m committed to fighting for a nuclear-free future.

AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about Deb Haaland, the Interior Department and the legacy of uranium mining, we’re joined by Leona Morgan in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Diné/Navajo anti-nuclear activist and community organizer, coordinator with the Nuclear Issues Study Group and organizer with Haul No!


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Leona, for those listeners who are not aware of the history of this issue, could you talk somewhat — this is going back to the 1940s that the Navajo Nation was used by the United States for uranium mining for nuclear weapons development. Could you talk about that history and the impact on the Native peoples of your state?

LEONA MORGAN: Yes. So, there are actually 15,000 abandoned uranium mines across the country. And the Navajo Nation is working with the federal government to address at least 523 distinct mines on Navajo Nation. The most abandoned mines are in Colorado. And so, this is an issue that doesn’t just affect Indigenous peoples, but everyone; however, uranium mining and production does impact Indigenous peoples and communities of color the most around the world. On Navajo, we have had many health issues resulting from the impacts of uranium mining, which, like you mentioned, started in the ’40s. A lot of the mines on Navajo shut down in the early ’80s. There is still mining in the country; however, there’s no mining in New Mexico currently. And the Navajo Nation has a law against uranium mining and the transport of radioactive materials; however, those laws are always challenged, because there are privately owned lands within the nation and adjacent to the nation.


nd so, these are issues that our people are still dealing with, over four decades after the uranium mining has stopped. We’re finally getting attention, but the cleanup that’s being proposed, like I said, it’s poor quality. One example is in Church Rock, New Mexico, the site of the world’s largest uranium spill. The proposal for cleanup there, it’s actually in an open comment period right now. There’s this idea that the company wants to scrape up mine waste at the Northeast Church Rock Mine and move it. A million cubic yards of mine waste, they want to pile on top of the mill waste, where the site — where the spill from 1979 originated. And the community is concerned because this is in a floodplain. And in the public meetings that were held in 2019, several community members expressed concern that this could result in a second Church Rock spill. But this is what they’re proposing as cleanup, which is not cleanup. It is basically making 523 permanent waste sites on Navajo Nation.


And so, we need Secretary Haaland to help to curb the startup of new mines and then also to work with the agencies. There’s five federal agencies and the Navajo Nation doing this cleanup. But, like I said, that’s only 523 abandoned mine sites, whereas there’s over 15,000 in the whole country. And so, we really need federal dollars and better cleanup standards. Right now there’s a 10-year plan that’s being proposed, and some of the standards for the allowable levels of radiation are much higher than would be acceptable in, let’s say, an urban environment or in a white community.

And this is really going to impact our people, you know, as uranium and radiation cause health impacts. It takes a long time for these health impacts to show up. And so, right now we are experiencing a lot of the residual effects. One health study, called the Navajo Birth Cohort Study, has found high levels of uranium in newborn babies. And these are babies that are born across the reservation, not just near abandoned uranium sites. And so, we do need Secretary Haaland to push for comprehensive cleanup, as well as comprehensive health studies. And this is, specifically, I’m talking about Navajo Nation, but across the country, as well as protections for our sacred places, because a lot of our sacred places have been mined and are targeted for new mining.

Read/Listen more at With First Native Interior Secretary, Deb Haaland, Hope Grows U.S. Will Confront Toxic Uranium Legacy

Posted in *English.

Tagged with , , .

10 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. lirik lagu says

    thank you for being friendly friend, you’re a great writer don’t forget to visit my writing on

  2. 바카라사이트 says

    I found the answer I was looking for in your article. I’m going to quote your article and write it on a blog. 바카라사이트

  3. 우리카지노 says

    That’s a great article! The neatly organized content is good to see. Can I quote a blog and write it on my blog? My blog has a variety of communities including these articles. Would you like to visit me later? 우리카지노

  4. dark web links says

    The Dark Web is a term that most of us newbie’s do not really know what it is or how to go about using it to make money. It is all over the internet and is referred to as the underground or deep web. It can be confusing because most people are unaware of it and just assume that it is like the white pages but in real it is not. In order to get around most of the scams on the internet you will want to find some good link building service or directory to use. The links that are placed on the top will be paid for by search engines so it is very important to place links there that will make money.

  5. Lock Repair Phoenix AZ says

    This is really a nice and informative, containing all information and also has a great impact on the new technology. Thanks for sharing it

  6. rhino 6 crack says

    Rhinoceros Crack is widely used as a 3D design program. It uses 3D design alternatives developed to deliver users the best, professional, and best outcomes. rhinoceros crack license key

  7. immunet crack says

    EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Crack is the best accessible data recovery software to recover all lost data – recover lost data from hard drive, external hard drive, USB drive, memory card, digital cameras, cell phones, music, and other media, feedback, software crash, faulty hard drive, virus infection, distribution or other errors. easeus data recovery wizard crack

  8. pdf xchange editor crack says

    ccleaner pro crack is a system optimization, privacy, and cleaning tool for Windows PC. Removes unused files from your system, allows Windows to run faster, and free up hard drive space. CCleaner Pro License Key also removes traces of your online activities, such as online history.

  9. adobe illustrator crack says

    Very nice article is great for various design, web, and video applications anytime, anywhere. It is believed to be faster and smarter than any previous announcement. Adobe Illustrator Serial Number 2021 publication includes various new, improved tools and design tools that provide more ways to improve every aspect of your project.

  10. คาสิโนออนไลน์ฝากถอนไม่มีขั้นต่ำ says

    is a promotion, online slots, deposit 10, get 100 new Popular for people with small capital, really suitable for investors. With a small budget to play

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.