“Many of our uranium workers were never told of the harms of radiation exposure," said Navajo Vice President Lizer. "When the mines closed, many of the mining companies left the nation without support." "Now, our people are suffering from many health issues caused by radiation exposure," said Lizer, who has been making frequent trips to D.C. to advocate for the Navajo Nation's interests. "It is time to act and bring them justice." Lizer hopes the forum will draw additional attention to the need to update the Radiation Exposure and Compensation Act (RECA). Navajo leaders are seeking amendments to the law, which created a program that provides benefits and compensation for those affected by uranium development, in order to help more of their citizens. “I represent communities that have suffered many years of the legacy of extraction on the Navajo Nation," Navajo Nation Council Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty said. "We are asking for compensation for our former uranium mine workers as a just cause to the social and environmental injustice that has happened. We are calling on Congress to support the RECA amendments in this bill."
“The Navajo Nation has suffered profound impacts from uranium mining,” says Vice President Myron Lizer. Tribe has banned uranium mining on reservation and supports ban on new development around Grand Canyon. #KeepItGrand #HonorTheSacred @NNVPLizer2019 pic.twitter.com/eoNcjYvbIP— indianz.com (@indianz) June 4, 2019
The bill in question is H.R.3783, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) Amendments of 2019. It was introduced by Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-New Mexico), whose district includes portions of the Navajo Nation. "Radiation exposure disproportionally impacted tribal communities and Native Americans in New Mexico – a health, justice, and fairness disparity that has lingering impacts to this day," Luján, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for an open U.S. Senate seat, said in July. Grijalva is among the 42 co-sponsors of H.R.3783. Notably, all but one are Democrats, who control the U.S. House of Representatives and are able to secure passage of most legislation due to their hold on the chamber. Over in the U.S. Senate, which is in Republican hands, the effort is looking a lot more bipartisan, a usually positive sign in an era of divided government. S.947 was introduced by a GOP lawmakers and enjoys the support of several Democrats, including Booker and Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), who serves as the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs but is vacating the seat that Luján is campaigning for. Grijalva's uranium miners forum is taking place at the Navajo Education Center in Window Rock. It's due to start at 10am Arizona time on Wednesday.
I always enjoy visiting the Navajo Nation & hearing from locals about issues important to them, including access to health care & cleanup of abandoned uranium mines. I look forward to continuing to work w/ the Navajo people to ensure their concerns are a priority in DC. #AZ01 pic.twitter.com/9IAPwM5pGl— Rep. Tom O'Halleran (@RepOHalleran) October 25, 2018
We took radiation readings yesterday at an abandoned uranium mine in Cameron, Navajo Nation. pic.twitter.com/QruREluubo— Jacqueline Keeler (@jfkeeler) April 18, 2018
No. This abandoned uranium mine is 500 feet from my traditional Navajo grandparents’ house. It is something we have lived with for more than 50 years.— Jacqueline Keeler (@jfkeeler) April 19, 2018
Anyone who thinks uranium mining hasn’t had long-lasting, devastating impacts ought to spend some time in and around the Navajo Nation. This toxic legacy is very much a part of daily life here. pic.twitter.com/qq6uQpgwnW— Chris D'Angelo (@c_m_dangelo) March 19, 2018
A toxic legacy of mining on Navajo lands: https://t.co/kdfnDAPhKN @nytimes— NRDC 🌎 (@NRDC) January 29, 2018
"Tommy Rock discovered that the people of Sanders, AZ had been exposed to potentially dangerous levels of uranium in their drinking water for years. The Sanders school district had to shut off fountains." pic.twitter.com/THTh8SKLaz
Garry Holiday's father worked in the now abandoned uranium mines that litter the Navajo Nation’s red landscape and later died from respiratory disease.— NRDC 🌎 (@NRDC) January 19, 2018
For many Navajo, the Trump administration's push to expose #BearsEars to mining recalls a toxic legacy: https://t.co/WMpd40DPEQ pic.twitter.com/DzmpxZbezo