Imagine knowing that a shift in the wind’s direction could poison the air you breathe with odorless, cancer-causing radon gas. For all of us, this would be a terrifying scenario. Unfortunately this scenario is all too real for many families living with legacy waste left behind by uranium companies in western New Mexico.
Despite overwhelming anecdotal evidence of the harmful effects this legacy uranium waste has been having on New Mexicans for decades, there is still little scientific evidence to bolster the obvious truth. Because no baseline health study was done in these communities before mining, uranium industry lobbyists can tell our decision-makers that there is no proof that the ongoing illnesses and deaths have anything to do with left behind mining waste.
At the same time, the state is considering opening its doors to new uranium mining – and just last week at a legislative interim committee meeting, NM Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn championed what is known as the “blackmail bill,” and a few legislators echoed his senitments. This piece of legislation is so called because it forces communities to accept new uranium mining if they want any funds generated to clean up the messes left behind from the last wave of uranium industry activity.
The Martinez administration’s new “all of the above” dirty state energy plan seeks to label nuclear energy – the result of uranium mining – as clean energy, undeterred by the legacy of contamination that has plagued communities in western New Mexico for decades.
Despite this legacy, New Mexico does not have a health baseline established – a critical tool that could help decision-makers monitor negative impacts that result from mining practices.
If enough New Mexicans sign the petition, your legislators will be forced to take notice of the fact that there is broad public support for these critically-needed health studies on uranium mining. Unless we speak out — RIGHT NOW — we can be assured that the only voices legislators will hear will be coming from the uranium industry, which is set on protecting its polluter profits at all costs.
New Mexico is considering opening its doors to new uranium mining – despite a lack of critical tools we need to understand the impacts industrial processes have on communities over time. Tell your legislators to support comprehensive community health studies in uranium legacy waste communities.>>
In the last two sessions, CVNM partnered with our allies to introduce legislation aimed at establishing a regional health baseline for the Grants Mineral Belt communities by holding uranium companies accountable and funding a much needed health baseline to protect those communities from future harm. The bill did not receive enough support to pass because uranium lobbyists convinced many that they shouldn’t have to pay.
So I hope you’ll join us in speaking up for the health of your fellow New Mexicans!