Don’t Use Us As Guinea Pigs

In the October 15 editorial “Our View: Be Better Prepared for New Era of Uranium Mining”, you advocate for our communities to settle ourselves with what you believe is the inevitable expansion of uranium mining near Grand Canyon. You promote the usage of Canyon Mine as a “guinea pig”, because scientists do not yet understand how uranium contaminated water will move through the region’s water system.

I couldn’t disagree more. Using Canyon Mine as a guinea pig also makes unwilling guinea pigs of the communities of Tusayan and Valle, who live closest to the mine. It makes guinea pigs of the Havasupai people, who rely on the inter-connected system of aquifers and springs near the Grand Canyon as their sole source of water. It makes guinea pigs of the residents of Flagstaff, Tuba City and other communities along the route on which the uranium ore will be trucked. It makes “guinea pigs” of the estimated 40 million people who rely on Colorado River water for drinking, bathing, and other domestic and industrial uses.

The Havasupai Tribe remains strongly committed to the 2012 mineral withdrawal until the effects of uranium mining on our environment and communities are really understood. We will work together with others in our region to ensure that mining companies do not gamble with our lives and environment.

Don E. Watahomigie, Chairman, Havasupai Tribe

Editor's note: The Canyon Mine is grandfathered and not part of the 2012 mining withdrawal.

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