DOE plans to establish a government-funded uranium reserve, threatening health of Tribal and environmental justice communities
Washington (September 15, 2021) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Representative Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), along with Representatives A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-03), Betty McCollum (MN-04), and Alan S. Lowenthal (CA-47) today sent a letter to the Department of Energy (DOE), urging the Department to abandon its proposal to create a uranium reserve, and instead focus on the cleanup and remediation of existing toxic waste. The letter also urges the DOE to conduct extensive outreach with communities affected by current and previous uranium mining operations.
“If the DOE decides to purchase domestically mined and produced uranium for a new uranium reserve, it would almost certainly worsen environmental injustices in Tribal communities,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter. “Instead, the DOE should extend the request for information (RFI), actively consult with Tribal and environmental justice communities, and work to clean up the uranium mining and milling pollution that continues to endanger Tribal communities today.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
On August 11, 2021, the DOE issued a request for information (RFI), inviting public comment on issues related to the establishment of its Uranium Reserve Program. In their letter, the members of Congress highlight the threat that the proposed reserve would pose to Tribal and environmental justice communities, many of which are already burdened with the long-term consequences of uranium extraction, and emphasize the need for the DOE to meaningfully and engage and consult with these communities.
To date, Tribal and environmental justice communities, like those in the Navajo Nation, still grapple with contamination from mining and milling operations. In contradiction of recommendations from the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC), the proposed uranium reserve would add to pollution in frontline communities.