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Stop new uranium mining

Supporters Spoke up in this Action
Delivery to the Department of Energy

Action Ended On

September 2, 2021

What Happens Next

Thank you to all who took action! We're grateful for your support.

What was at Stake

Our federal government knows about the toxic dangers of uranium mining. Yet the Biden administration is moving forward with a Trump-era proposal to establish a uranium stockpile — otherwise known as a strategic uranium reserve (SUR) — that would encourage more mining and put many frontline Indigenous communities and places like the Grand Canyon, Bears Ears, and Black Hills at risk from uranium contamination. Please urge the Biden administration to prioritize environmental justice and not subsidies for uranium companies.

The toxic legacy of uranium mining from the Cold War era continues to haunt communities throughout the American West. Hundreds of mines were dug, especially on Indigenous lands. Many of the miners themselves were from tribes such as the Navajo, and few were given sufficient protection, or warnings about the toxins they blasted out of the rock, inhaled and brought into their homes after work. Today, water wells in these areas contain hazardous levels of uranium beyond the federal limit considered safe for drinking water. High levels of uranium persist in the soil, which is linked to everything from autoimmune diseases to reproductive problems to lung and bone cancer.

Millions of federal dollars have yet to make a dent in implementing adequate clean-up plans for indigenous communities — so why attempt to revive a polluting industry with even more tax dollars and put even more Indigenous communities at risk of more contamination?

In 2020, the Trump administration endorsed spending millions on creating a uranium stockpile to boost domestic mining after years of industry lobbying. Now, Biden’s Department of Energy is following through on that proposal even though it conflicts with the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council’s recommendations to do no harm to frontline communities.

Another uranium boom is not what our communities need, nor what our already parched earth needs. Not only does uranium mining pollute water, it also uses up water that plants and animals depend on for survival. We cannot use tax dollars to subsidize uranium companies that have already perpetrated environmental injustices toward Indigenous communities and polluted our precious water resources. Please urge the Department of Energy not to create a uranium reserve.

The Kanab North Uranium Mine on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon stopped operations in the 1990s.

The Kanab North Uranium Mine on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon stopped operations in the 1990s.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.