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.