Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District welcomed news that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice have secured $1 billion for the cleanup of abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation.
“With the scars of uranium mining still visible in communities across the Navajo Nation, this settlement provides significant resources that will help take an important step forward in the effort to clean up the land,” Congressman Luján said. “These funds will allow progress to be made, but it is critical that we continue our efforts to secure additional funding to address the legacy of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation. We must also not forget about those whose health and homeland was impacted by uranium mining and the need to compensate workers and their families who became sick from radiation exposure.”
As a result of the settlement with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Kerr-McGee Corp., the EPA and Navajo Nation will use these funds to clean up contamination, including radioactive waste near communities, from approximately 50 uranium mines operated by Kerr McGee during the Cold War. This amounts to 10 percent of abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation. Anadarko and Kerr McGee will pay a total of $5.15 billion to resolve fraudulent conveyance claims based on allegations the defendants sought to evade their liability for environmental contamination at toxic sites around the country, with $4.4 billion going to environmental cleanup.