02/12/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/12/2021 16:34
VILLAGE OF OAK CREEK-Today, Congressman Tom O'Halleran (AZ-01) announced new contracts worth up to $220 million to three companies for uranium mine cleanup at 50 high-priority hazardous uranium mine sites on the Navajo Nation.
'From World War II until the end of the Cold War, millions of tons of uranium were mined on Navajo lands, exposing mine workers and their families to deadly radiation. As a result, high rates of cancer, birth defects, and contaminated water sources remain a reality for residents of the Navajo Nation even now,' said O'Halleran. 'I am glad to see my oversight efforts have pushed the EPA to make these critical investments.'
View the EPA's release, HERE.
In the spring of last year, O'Halleran's constant oversight efforts with U.S. EPA led to then Administrator Andrew Wheeler adding the Ten-Year Uranium Mine Cleanup Plan for the Navajo Nation on the Administrator's Emphasis List of Superfund Sites Targeted for Immediate, Intense Action. This action directed the agency's staff and resources to prioritize the overdue completion of the Ten-Year Uranium Mine Cleanup Plan and further require increased consultation with the Navajo Nation's Environmental Protection Agency.
O'Halleran has been vocal about the importance of contracts awarded in good faith in the past, calling out embattled operations with companies assigned to cleanup efforts. Read more from the Navajo Times, HERE.
Last Congress, O'Halleran co-introduced legislation to expand compensation for individuals exposed to radiation while working in and living near uranium mines or downwind from nuclear weapon test sites. He also joined a group of lawmakers from Arizona and New Mexico to introduce H.Res 737, a resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Environmental Protection Agency must do more to clean up and remediate toxic, abandoned uranium mine sites on the Navajo Nation.